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Mount Zion. The Cenacle and St. Peter in Gallicantu - November 24, 2003

Six panoramic views which give you a 360 degrees vision of Jerusalem and all the surrounding mountains. Taken from the cupola of the B.V. Mary Dormition Church. Click to enlarge.

The old building which is now occupied by a Yeshiva (Jewish religious school) was owned by a Muslim family until the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. However, from 1335 to 1551, it was a Franciscan Monastery and the See of the Custos of the Holy Land. See below a Franciscan emblem engraved on stone.

The Cenacle is the last standing portion of a Byzantine and Crusader Church ("Hagia Sion") heir to the primitive Apostolic Church (Acts 2-15). The Last Supper (Lk 22:7-38) and the Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13) are remembered in the upper room. Other memories (mainly the Tomb of David) are found on the ground floor. On the left, is a photo of the main entrance to the Ottoman complex.

The present entrance to the upper room is on the left. On the central bench, there is a bronze sculpture of an olive tree, offered by the Catholic Association that had the entire building restored at its expense.

The upper room is open to all Christian denominations,but without being able to celebrate the Eucharist there until it becomes a Church again. Behind the closed door and the window in the wall to the left, is the room of "the descent of the Holy Spirit".

Interior of the "descent of the Holy Spirit" room. Architectural evidence suggests that this place is older than the "Last Supper" room. The white cenotaph and the cupola above it are later additions made by the Muslims because of the Tomb of David's present on the ground floor.

To the left. Plan and section of the edifice. 1. Tomb of David (red). 2-3: Cenacle (blue). 4: The Holy Spirit's Room.

To the right. Crusader capital with the representation of a Pelican, a symbol of Christ giving his blood for the salvation of humankind.

According to popular tradition, but not according to archaeology, the present Mount Zion is thought to be the same as the "City of David" where King David and his successors were buried (1Kings 2:10). A cenotaph is covered by a drapery lavishly decorated with Jewish writings and symbols.

The sanctuary of St. Peter in Gallicantu on the slopes of Mount Zion was built in memory of Peter's repentance (Mt 26:69-75).

A suggestive view of the old city of Jerusalem looking in the direction of the Temple Mount.

Medieval pilgrims wrote about a very deep cave found inside the Church. This cistern, found in 1904, displays traces of worship left by early Christians. The double opening is typical of Jewish ritual baths from the time of Jesus.

Crosses painted in red and black show up in various places on the rocky surface of the walls of the sacred cave.

Remains of houses from ancient Jerusalem brought to light by archaeologists in the garden. According to the Anonimous Pilgrim from Bordeaux (333 A.D.), going up from the Pool of Siloe to Mount Zion one would come across the House of the Priest Caiaphas.

Stepped street of ancient Jerusalem found in the proximity of the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu.

Mount Zion (center) represents one of the highest natural elevation in the city of Jerusalem. Click to enlarge, then scroll to the right.

 SBF main, Index

Biblical Escursions


1. City Walls (North)

2. City Walls (South)

3. City of David

4. Ophel

5. Jewish Quarter

6. Mount Zion

7. Armenian Quarter

8. Holy Sepulchre

9. Via Dolorosa

10. Probatica

11. North Jerusalem

12. Gethsemane

13. Mount of Olives

14. Ascension, Bethphage, Bethany

15. West Jerusalem

16. Ain Karem

17. Bethlehem

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Created/updated: Sunday, December 16, 2001 by J. Abela ofm / E. Alliata ofm
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