Prayer is the lifeblood of any true believer. At the foot of Mount Olives in Jerusalem stands the Basilica of All Nations or of the Lord's Agony. The Basilica has gotten the first name because it was reconstructed with the generous contributions of a number of so-called Christian nations. It is also called the other way because of the confirmed tradition from archeological findings that the Lord's agony mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels must have taken place here. One cannot miss it; it lies along the road that leads to Jericho. If one comes out from the Old City through the Lion's Gate, and turns to the right down to Kidron Valley, then one sees this Basilica. The mosaic at the facade is best contemplated across the road in front of the Basilica. Located a little higher than this are the small golden cupolas of a Russian church dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene, which could serve as a marker from a distance. The actual Basilica was built only last century and in the process of its construction, in 1919 the original traces of the first Byzanrtine basilica were found with the clear identification of the rock on which the Lord prayed in agony. The Crusaders’ basilica was also identified. The modern Basilica is constructed in such a way that even at daytime it is dark with the purpose of inducing prayerful silence. Explanatory notes are found outside the Basilica in front on either side of the main door. No explanations are supposed to be given inside to maintain the atmosphere of prayerful silence despite the possible continuous flow of people coming and going, some of whom do spend moments of prayer in the Basilica. The olive trees on the grounds of the Basilica cannot be traced back to the times of Jesus, owing to the destructions that ensued with the Muslim invasions. Still they must be very old; the oldest ones must date back only to the twelfth century A.D. The Basilica has beautiful icons representing some scenes of Jesus' agony there before his betrayal by one of his closest disciples. The white rough stone at the very middle of the Basilica right in front of the altar locates Jesus' prayer in the garden. Every first Thursday at 20:30 Hrs, a Holy Hour takes place done very contemplatively. At its end, a procession takes place with the Blessed Sacrament around the garden outside beside the Basilica, which ends back inside it with the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Pilgrims, who might be interested to spend some moments and even days of silence in prayer and solitude, could avail themselves of the Shrine's hermitage towards the upper section of the Shrine, which is exclusively used by the "hermits". One may seek information and further arrangement with the friar concerned through this email address: <email@example.com>
Across the present road going upwards to the Mount of Olives lies the Grotto that recalls the place where Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. During the excavations in the fifties of last century, the evolution of the tradition of the place was clarified. There were oil presses there (Gethsemani) in the natural grottos dating to the Jewish-Christian times. If there was confusion of the place where Jesus was handed over to his enemies by Judas Iscariot and the place where he prayed in agony, it was due to the destruction of the Crusaders' Basilica by Saladin, so that in the 12th century they referred to this place as the site of Jesus’ sweating of blood. The Memorial of the Agony was transferred to that site already in the 14th century when the Basilica had been already in ruins and it was the only existing memorial.
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