Mount of Olives panorama

Mount of Olives panorama
A panoramic view of the Mount of Olives

Friday, April 6, 2012

Holy Thursday video and site pics

There were so many of these that rather than try to insert them into my already-long Maundy Thursday blog entry, I am just inserting them here without a lot of commentary.  The highlights video is a bit long, but a lot of it, I think, you may find interesting.  It will at least give a feel for our day.

Procession to the Cenacle

Rachel and I took at taxi down to New Gate in the Old City and then walked to St. Savior's, which is the "parish church of Jerusalem" (serving mostly the local Arab Christian community).  There we joined a procession through the Old City and out Zion Gate to the Cenacle, a Crusader-era church built on the site of the earlier Holy Zion Church, which marked the traditional site of the Upper Room and the Last Supper (the Syrian Orthodox claim another site, in the lower level of their Church of St. Mark).

St. Savior's
A procession leader in a traditional fez waits with two Franciscan friars for the procession to start


We slipped out of the Cenacle early, it was very crowded and very hot, and went down to a courtyard on ground level to read from Mark 14 together.  Rachel wanted to sing, so even though it was just the two of us, we sang "Jesus of Nazareth, Savior and King" together.

The courtyard where Rachel and I had our own private devotional

The Armenian Tavern

Taking my daughter to these sites and experiencing so much of Holy Week with her here has been a real joy.  I hope that these memories will be fixtures of her faith from now on.  But it has also been a chance to have some overdue Daddy-Daughter dates.  So coming back from the Cenacle, I treated Rachel to a steak dinner (I got lamb and other assorted traditional dishes) in the Armenian Quarter.

My Armenian sampler platter

Rach enjoying her steak!

Notre Dame of Jerusalem (Pontifical Institute)

The Pontifical Institute is a Roman Catholic pilgrimage center in Jerusalem.  I liken it to a Texan mega church, but better.  It has a convent, a large and modern hotel, a fine restaurant, a youth center, and a beautiful chapel, Notre Dame of Jerusalem.  Rachel and I joined the Holy Thursday service at 5:00 p.m.  In addition to being a high mass, the service also featured a foot-washing ceremony, in which 12 men chosen ahead of time from the congregation had their feet washed by the bishop, who had girded himself as described by John 13.

The bishop "girding himself with a towel" for the footwashing

Gethsemane (almost)

We had planned to join our friends of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer for their walk to the Mount of Olives after their Holy Thursday service, but we did not get out of Notre Dame in time.  So we hurried around the Old City and arrived in Gethsemane, only to find it closed between services.

So we sat down on the steps leading to the plaza in front of the neighboring Grotto of the Virgin, where Rachel read about Jesus' experience in Gethsemane from Luke 22:39-46.

Holy Hour and the Candlelight Walk

Later that evening the faculty, their wives, and one of the service couples attended the "Holy Hour" service in the Basilica of the Agony in Gethsemane.  The title of the program was very touching : Vigiliantes cum Christo in hortu Gethsemani, "Keeping watch with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane."  After the service, we joined the long, candlelit procession through the Kidron Valley up to St. Peter's in Gallicantu on Mount Zion, retracing the Savior's steps after his arrest to Caiaphas' Palace.



As with the Palm Sunday procession, the walk and the time at St. Peter's at the end was a wonderful opportunity to see the unique Arab Christian community, a minority within a minority, really assert its faith and identity.

The most touching part was sitting on the first century steps leading up to the church, which are probably those up which Christ was led.  Holding our candles and sitting on the steps that were lit with other red candles, it was a tender moment.

Elaine with Kent and Nancy Jackson on the steps

Ludlow family
Steve and Jen Harper

Elizabeth and Robert Schafer
A thoughtful pilgrim sitting alone on the steps

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