The Mount of Olives is one of the holiest places on earth, overlooking the Temple Mount and the rest of the Old City. The Mount of Olives is significant to both the Jewish and Christian faith. For the Jews, it is where G-d will come to earth and the Resurrection will take place. That is why many Jews for the past 3,000 years have wished to be buried there so they will be the first to be resurrected.
In fact, there are an estimated 150,000 graves on the Mount of Olives. Some of the most well-known people buried there are the prophets Zechariah, Haggai and Malachi and former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Walking down the winding roads with a sea of graves on both sides is definitely a sobering experience.
The Mount of Olives is also a holy place for Christians. It is the site where Jesus prayed over the city before he was betrayed, and it was the site where he is believed to have ascended up to heaven. There are many places to visit and see while at the Mount of Olives. One of the most famous is the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus went to pray the night he was betrayed.
"Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.' He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.' Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'" Matthew 26:36-39
When visitors arrive, they are taken through a tranquil olive grove, with olive trees dating back at least a thousand years ago. Taking a slow stroll through the garden allows visitors to meditate on the sacrifice Jesus knew he was faced with. Next to the garden is the Church of All Nations, a Roman Catholic church built in 1924 that is built on the supposed place where Jesus prayed before he was betrayed.
There are definitely plenty of churches to visit in addition to the Church of All Nations while on the Mount of Olives, including: The Church of Maria Magdalene, Dominus Flevit Church, Church of Pater Noste I only went to the Church of All Nations because Israel is full of churches, and after a while they all start to blend together.
Some tips before going to the Mount of Olives:
-Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because the roads are steep!
-Wear modest clothing that covers your legs. Some churches and holy sites will make you cover up if you come in shorts or a shorter skirt.
If you want to visit the churches, be sure to check the times they're open. Some churches like the Church or Maria Magdalena have very limited visiting hours.
The Mount of Olives is an amazing place to visit and soak up the history and religious significance of such a powerful place. The mountain provides an fantastic view of the entire city of Jerusalem, and there is definitely a spiritual power that is there. I highly recommend a visit to this place when you visit!
The Crossover Project