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nella valle del Cedron a Gerusalemme - at Kidron valley in Jerusalem

An "historic" note
voluneers

By "Hermitage of Gethsemane" is meant the entire garden which is found on the south side of the Basilica of the Agony (Church of All Nations) and which extends to the boundary with the jewish cemetery.

The garden was transformed into a "place for prayer in Jerusalem" through the care of Fr Giorgio Colombini ofm. This friar has lived in Gethsemane for over 15 years. He had from the very beginning been in love with this "sacred space" which rests in front of the Holy City of Jerusalem. The garden was badly neglected then, but Fr Giorgio busied himself with tidying it up during his free time. Sometimes volunteers came to help, significantly Sr Ignazia Ravaglia.

While working in the garden, Fr Giorgio had dreamt of building small hermitage cells scattered throughout this extensive garden whereby people could stay facing directly the city of Jerusalem. Through the persistence and hard work of Don Gianni Tomasi of Rovereto (Italy) and his community, the first step was taken to build the first cell over an older site in the garden. Fr Carlo Cecchitelli, then Custos of the Holyland, blessed this first hermitage cell.

In the following years other hermitage cells were built through the financial help of the "Friends of the Hermitage" and through the work of volunteers. Thus rose the hermitages of St Frederick, St Francis, St Clare, the Assumption, the Prophet Elijah, Our Lady of Vetrana, Nazareth, St Joseph, St Mary Magdalene and St John the Baptist.

Fr Giorgio dedicates most of his time in the Hermitage. He often repeats that were it not for the help of the friends and volunteers, none of this would have existed. Among these friends and volunteers from Italy are Franco Cavallo who headed the project, and Fr Pio D'Andola, a friar who truly loves the Holyland.
  fr giorgio in the beginning
Fr Giorgio in the beginning...

voluneers
Volonteers at work

Why the hermitage and why in Gethsemane?
First of all it is because Jesus "came here alone". Here Jesus prayed his greatest prayer; from here he began his walk to Calvary and the Tomb; all these are events that saved us.

Secondly, it stands directly in front of Jerusalem, or more precisely the place where the Temple once stood. Since the time of David, Jerusalem was the "centre of the history of salvation".

Despite the slight disturbance in the ambience caused by the nearby main road, this place remains a wonderful site for prayer, because Jerusalem and Jerusalem alone is here. The testimony of the Hermitage's many guests will confirm this. Over 15,000 persons have spend some time in the Hermitage.

Fr Giorgio is always available, even to accompany those who need help to pray. Very often he is seen in the early mornings or late nights walking through the Old City with someone by his side being led to the Holy Sepulchre or praying the Way of the Cross.

How to contact the Hermitage
one of spaces available
The Hermitage of Gethsemane
Franciscan Friars
P. O. Box 19094 - Jerusalem (Israel)
Tel +972-2-62.80.527
Fax +972-2-62.60.394
In charge: p. Giorgio Colombini


There is no fixed period of stay at the Hermitage, but one is expected to remain for several days. The Hermitage is a place of prayer hence individuals or groups who wish to just visit the site are not accepted. Each one must provide his/her own meals. Each cell is attached with a small kitchen and a refrigerator.

© franciscan cyberspot - text written by Albert Storme



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Created / Updated Sunday, 10 October, 2004 at 11:56:22 pm by J. Abela, E. Alliata, E. Bermejo
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