On this Holy Thursday the location of Christ’s passion, as described by many of the Gospels, was somewhere above the old City of Jerusalem. The precise location, it must be acknowledged, cannot be definitively established. However, over many centuries of pilgrimages from millions of believers of many faiths, by tradition, a special place has been recognized as the Garden of Gethsemane.
This intimate garden and church continue to be highly regarded by visitors to Jerusalem. Thousands of positive blogs and reviews are posted on travel sites. A prominant academic, Dr. James Tabor notes the importance of this site in beginning his quest for the historical Jesus. Whether the place is or is not historically accurate, there’s no doubt the quiet, walled garden has a presence and power as visitors contemplate Jesus’s final hours.
At least we know that since sometime in the 1100’s, this particular place has been the location revered as the place where Jesus prayed and was betrayed. The ancient olive trees are known to be among the oldest trees ever dated. The Church of All Nations, which stands over the rock where, once again, tradition holds that Jesus prayed in agony. That church, however, is modern. A design inspired by excavations on the site, the beautiful church was dedicated in 1924.
An enterprising group has produced a virtual tour of the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations. Try walking around yourself, or fly through the virtual site Jerusalem.com on autopilot.