Gethsemane Garden is located on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel. The name comes from the ancient Hebrew word for “Olive Press” probably named because of the olive trees growing in the garden which are hundreds of years old. The Gethsemane Garden is best known from the New Testament as a place where several significant events took place in the life of Jesus during the Passion Week. Although some of these sits are contested the garden is still a revered Christian pilgrimage site. Other sites claimed to be where Jesus prayed before his arrest are the Greek Orthodox Church, the Church of Maria Magdalene and a location close to the Tomb of Mary.
Jesus Prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane
“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.” Mathew 26:36
Jesus was known to frequent the garden with his disciples and while walking teach them of G-d. It was because of this that Judas knew where he would find Jesus on the night when Jesus was arrested. It was in the garden of Gethsemane that Roman soldiers discovered Jesus in prayer and arrested him, which soon lead to his crucifixion. This event is recorded in four different Gospel accounts and the time between his Last supper with the disciples and his arrest is also called Agony in the Garden. The Church of All Nations or Church of Basilica of the Agony is on the Mount of Olives next to the Garden of Gethsemane and is thought to be where Jesus prayed on that fateful night before his arrest. You can recognize the church by its brightly colored mosaic above the three atrium arches on its facade. The Garden of Gethsemane is in fact within the walls of the Church of All Nations.
The Church of All Nations
Within the church which was built in 1924 with donations from nations around the world, is the rock thought to be where Jesus sat in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his arrest. The rock is surrounded by an iron crown of thorns. Behind the rock are the high altar and the presbytery. The events of Christ’s Passion (Judas kiss, an angle comforting Jesus, Christ’s arrest) can also be seen illustrated in the apse mosaic and the church’s side apses.
Also in the Garden of Gethsemane is an open alter where Christians of all denominations can come and worship. The altar was erected by the Franciscan monks and is used by Anglicans for their Maundy Thursday service.
Very close to the Gethsemane Garden is the Russian Orthodox Church of Maria Magdalene, the Church of the Pater Noster and Dominus Flevit Church which are all on the Mount of Olives and Mary’s Tomb in the Kidron Valley.