About sight: Gethsemane Garden & Grotto

At the foot of the western slope of the Mount of Olives in the court of the Church of All Nations the Garden of Gethsemane is located, one of the main sacred places of Christianity. In the time of Jesus olive trees grew all over the slope of the mountain (hence its name), but until nowadays only eight trees survived, the same trees under which shade Judas betrayed his teacher, as it is described in the gospels.

When you enter the Garden of Gethsemane and see these olive trees, you have no doubts that they are over two thousand years, as they have very unusual look. The trunk of the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane are several meters wide, however, most of the trees are already dead with fresh sprouts growing from the old roots. Some experts think that the olive trees are much younger, but this doesn’t diminish the holiness of the Garden for all Christians.

It is just there that Jesus Christ spent his last night before the betrayal of Judas and his arrest. In the Gospel According to Matthew it reads as follows: “Then Jesus took them to the place called Gethsemane and said to his disciples: stay here while I go and say a prayer there”. In the Gethsemane Garden there is a bedrock where the bas relief of the praying Jesus is cut.

While Jesus prayed on the bedrock in the Gethsemane Garden, his disciples slept in the nearby Gethsemane Grotto. There you can see the remains of a Roman water cistern, which were used in the time of Jesus. It was also used to press olives (by the way, the word Gethsemane means «olive press» in Hebrew). In the Gospel According to John it reads: “Judas, the betrayer of Him, knew the place as Jesus often met there with his disciples.”

Above the bedrock where Jesus said hid prayer the Church of All Nations was built at the beginning of 20 century. But the betrayal itself happened at the Gethsemane Grotto. In the Gospel According to Mark you can read the following: “Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a lot of men with swords and spears, from the High Priests and the Scribes, and the Elders. And the traitor agreed the sign with them saying: the one I will kiss is Him, take Him and handle with care. And having come there, he at once approached Him with the words: Rabbi! Rabbi! and kissed Him. And they put his hands on Him and took Him.”

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