In the grotto of Gethsemani
- 2020/02/01 -
Quite a lot of guides regard it as an inside tip, and actually it is not easy at all to be found with its neighbourhood to some big churches: the Grotto of the Apostles.
It is situated at the bottom of the Mount of Olives, down in the Kidron Valley, and its entry is very close to the portal of the orthodox church of St. Mary's Tomb, on the righthand side and northwest below the impressive Church of the Nations with its splendid multicoloured golden mosaic portal.

As grottos use to be, it lies hidden so that not anybody will be able to find it very easily. At the end of January on a quiet afternoon our St. Charles community celebrated Holy mass there with our two Romanian priests, Father Catalin and Father Cristian.
The original simple structure of the grotto as a rock cave can still be recognized even though it was stabilized at some places by concrete and equipped with electric light. Today it is open for masses that can be booked and that can be said inside.

The grotto, or rather the cave, which offers space for just about 50 people, reminds us of the hours after the Last Supper when Jesus stayed there with his disciples. It is there that his disciples fell asleep after Jesus had left them. Jesus himself went "only a stone's throw away" (Luke, 22,41) to ask his father in his mortal fear that "he may be spared this ordeal" (Luke, 22, 41 f.). Only a stone's throw away, in the Church of the Nations, also called the Basilica of Mortal Fear or of Gethsemane, the altar was erected on a heap of stones where Jesus had had to spend his last lonely hours before being arrested.

And another stone's throw away is the place that owns its popularity to stones, namely the location where St. Stephen was stoned, the first martyr of the Christian Church after the resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
According to the Acts of the Apostles (Ap. 6-7), Stephen was condemned by the High Council to be stoned outside the town. The Greek-orthodox church of St. Stephen at this place (in the Kidron Valley, opposite the Church of the Nations) reminds us of this early Christian tradition.

As they were stoning Stephen, he calls out,
'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'
Then he fell down on his knees and cried out in loud voice,
'Lord, do not hold this sin against them',
and when he said this, he fell asleep.

(Acts 7:59-60)
German Hospice St. Charles Jerusalem - Lloyd George Street 12, 91080 Jerusalem, Israel - Tel. 00972 2 5637737 -