Mount of Olives

A mountain ridge east of and adjacent to Jerusalem’s Old City. It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes. Several key events in the life of Jesus, as related in the Gospels, took place on the Mount of Olives, and in the Acts of the Apostles it is described as the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven. Because of its association with both Jesus and Mary, the mount has been a site of Christian worship since ancient times and is today a major site of pilgrimage for Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants.

“When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” Gospel of Matthew 26:30

Key Events:

  • Located right beside Old Jerusalem (on the east side)
  • Place where Jesus camped when coming to Jerusalem.
  • Jesus came down the Mount of Olives in the Triumphal Entry.
  • Forecast of Jerusalem’s destruction by Christ on the Mt. of Olives.
  • Place from which Christ ascended back to heaven.
  • Place at which Christ, host of angels and all believers will return to when Christ returns in power and great glory at the end of the Great Tribulation Period.
  • Place from which Christ judges unbelievers and the end of the Great Tribulation.

Mount of Olives - The Site:

The Mount of Olives, one of three hills on a long ridge to the east of Jerusalem, is the location of many biblical events. Rising to more than 800 meters, it offers an unrivalled vista of the Old City and its environs.

The hill, also called Mount Olivet, takes its name from the fact that it was once covered with olive trees.

Several major pilgrimage sites:

The Mount of Olives is the location of several major sites for pilgrims. They include:

  • Church of All Nations(Basilica of the Agony): A somber church at Gethsemane, built over the rock on which Jesus is believed to have prayed in agony the night before he was crucified.
  • Church of St Mary Magdalene: A Russian Orthodox church whose seven gilded onion domes, each topped by a tall cross, make it one of Jerusalem’s most picturesque sights.
  • Church of Dominus Flevit: A church in the shape of a teardrop, commemorating the Gospel incident in which Jesus wept over the future fate of Jerusalem.
  • Church of Pater Noster: Recalling Christ’s teaching of the Lord’s Prayer, this church features translations of the prayer in 140 languages, inscribed on colorful ceramic plaques.
  • Dome of the Ascension: A small shrine, now a mosque marking the place where Jesus is believed to have ascended to heaven.
  • The garden and grotto of Gethsemane: The ancient olive grove identified as the place where Jesus went to pray the night before he was crucified, and the cave where his disciples are believed to have slept.
  • Tomb of Mary: A dimly-lit, below-ground church where a Christian tradition says the Mother of Jesus was buried.

Mount of Olives Gallery:

From the Bible:

  • Luke 21:37 NIV – Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives.
  • Matthew 21:1 NIV – As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples.
  • Matthew 24:3 NIV – As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
  • Acts 1:11 NIV – “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.
  • Zechariah 14:4 NIV – On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
  • Matthew 24:29 NIV – “Immediately after the distress of those days ” ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
  • Revelation 14:20 NAS – And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.

Mount of Olives Maps & Location

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