Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on digg
Share on reddit

Church of All Nations

Christian Sites in Jerusalem

The Church of All Nations, also known as the Church of the Agony, is located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, next to the Garden of Gethsemane. It enshrines a section of bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest. (Mark 14:32–42)



The History of the Church of All Nations

On the site of the church stood a small Byzantine basilica built in the fourth century and destroyed with the Sassanid conquest in 614 CE. In the 12th century, a much larger Crusader church was built on the site, but it was abandoned and destroyed no later than 1347. Then in 1919 Antonio Berluzzi was appointed to build the current church. In 1920, a year after the work began, a pillar and a mosaic section from the Byzantine church were exposed, and the construction work ceased until 1922. Upon completion of the archaeological research, conducted by Gaudenzio Orfali, the church plans were changed and completed and dedicated in 1924.



The Byzantine church was probably built during the reign of Emperor Theodosius I (379-395); it is mentioned in the writings of St. Jerome in the 4th century and of the pilgrim Agrias in the 5th century. A layer of destruction (by massive fire) was found, probably from the Sassanid occupation of the Holy Land in 614, and except for a single mention of St. Willibald from the 8th century, there are no reliable descriptions of a ritual structure that inhabited the site until the Crusader period.



The Crusader Church of the Agony

At the beginning of the 12th century, after a silence of about 500 years concerning the history of the place, pilgrims wrote that there was a small church on the site. This may have arisen during the period of tolerance that characterized the Fatimid rule during the 11th century. It is clear that in the middle of the 12th century the small church was replaced by a church larger than it and the ancient Byzantine church.



After the conquest of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187, the evidence about the church ceased, and it may have been destroyed. In 1323 the existence of a church was reported again at the site, and apparently, this report reconciles with two different types of columns found on the site. This church, whether it was the original Crusader church or another church, was later destroyed in 1347.

The Modern Church of All Nations

The modern Church of All Nations was built on the longitudinal axis of the Byzantine Church. Although its dimensions are much larger and closer to those of the Crusader Church. The cornerstone was laid in 1919 and the task was entrusted to the architect Antonio Barluzzi. The church was completed in 1924. The ceiling of the church and the mosaic of the Eastern Wall incorporates the symbols of the 16 countries whose contribution helped build the church. Including Argentina; Brazil; Chile; Mexico; Italy; France; Spain; England; Belgium; Canada; Germany; the United States; Ireland; Hungary; Australia And Poland.



Due to the international character of the church; it was decided to establish it in the Roman-Classical style typical to the time of Christ. Barluzzi sought to express in the building the grief that befell Jesus during the agony in Gethsemani. So therefore the church’s interior is semi-dark. In addition, its ceiling is relatively low and 11 low domes are set against the 11 apostles and a large dome representing the crucifixion. The predominant color in the pieces of alabaster incorporated into the walls of the building is purple, the color of mourning in the Christian tradition, and the star-studded mosaic ceiling is painted dark blue.



Last Things About the Modern Church

Around the stars that mimic the night sky of mourning, olive branches are incorporated that represent the trees of the nearby Getsemani. Now the natural rock incorporated in the original Byzantine church has been preserved and incorporated along the Eastern Wall. The building stone in shades of reddish-gray was brought from the nearby quarries and incorporated into the inner walls of the building; while its outer walls were decorated with pinkish stone from the Bethlehem area. In addition, the structure is divided into three passages that are identical in size, and between them are two rows of thin pink columns; which give the hall the appearance of one large space. The single apse is set at the eastern end of the central aisle.



The foyer opens to the Kidron Valley through three arches of identical dimensions; between them are columns bearing Corinthian capital heads. In addition, the statues of the four Evangelists stand on the pillars between the arches and in the corners of the building. In the huge gable above the foyer is a mosaic depicting Jesus as the mediator between God and humanity. Jesus is seen in crimson, the color of the kingdom, having given his heart to the angel on our right hand.



More About the Mosaic

Two groups of people stand on either side of Jesus. But at some distance from him to emphasize his loneliness during his sufferings in Gethsemane. Now the people on the right are the common people; they are weeping and mourning. While those on the left represent those in power and the wise like the Jewish priests; choosing not to recognize Jesus as Christ and the Gospel (one of them is holding a book with the word “ignorance” on it). But Jesus accepts the requests of all human beings, as the verse below the scene testifies:

“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”

Hebrews 5:7

A Tutorial of the Church of All Nations and Gethsemane

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on digg
Share on reddit
apt-stamp-white@2x
arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history.

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Flavius Descriptions of John the Baptist

RELATED POSTS

The Chalcolithic Temple at Ein Gedi

The Chalcolithic Temple at Ein Gedi is one of the three sanctuaries dated to the Chalcolithic period that can be found in the area.

Dormition Abbey

The Dormition Abbey Jerusalem also known as Abbey of the Dormition is a wonderful site to visit when touring Jerusalem. Click here for more!

Rockefeller Archeological Museum

The Rockefeller Museum is an archeological museum located just outside the walls of Old Town Jerusalem. The museums stores real treasures.

Holy Fire In Israel

Each year we celebrate the Holy Fire in Israel! It's also known as the Holy Light and seen as a miracle that occurs every year in Jerusalem.

The Memorial to the Deportees

The Memorial to the Deportees was established at Yad Vashem as a monument to the millions of Jews herded onto cattle cars and transported from ...

Caesarea Maritima National Park

Caesarea Maritima, formerly Strato’s Tower, also known as Caesarea Palestinae, was an ancient city on the coast of the Mediterranean, now in ruins and included ...

Sarona Colony

Another great reason to come and check out Sarona Market is the Sarona Colony which is now a trendy commercial area called Sarona Tel Aviv. ...

Atlit Castle

Château Pèlerin (Latin: Castrum Perigrinorum), also known as Atlit Castle, is a Crusader fortress located near Ceasarea National Park.

Ramat Gan Safari

The Ramat Gan Safari – also known as Tel Aviv’s Zoo is a real entertainment site for the entire family! It is located just outside ...

Church of the Visitation

So the Church of the Visitation is a Catholic church in Ein Karem and honors the visit paid by the Virgin Mary, the mother of ...