1st prel. Stat.
2nd prel. Stat.
3rd prel. Stat.
The Christian Shrines of Jerusalem
The Room of the Last Supper
Mount Zion lies to the south of today's city walls. Coming out of Zion Gate you are faced with the Benedictine Basilica of the Dormition.
The Dormition Abbey is a massive structure that rises on Mount Zion, just outside the Zion Gate, and resembles a mighty fortress; it is topped by a high, domed belltower, a conical dome and corner towers. This Benedictine Basilica, built over the site where Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is said to have fallen asleep for the last time (Dormitio - from here one of the apocryphal writings describing this event).
It was completed by Kaiser Wilhelm II at the beginning of the twentieth century based on plans by Heinrich Renard who used as a model the Carolingian cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle. The highlights are the mosaics and the wood-and-ivory statue of the sleeping Virgin in the crypt.
The Room of the Last Supper lies just outside the Dormition Abbey behind the Franciscan house on Sion. The whole area has been transformed by religious Jews into various Yeshivas (Schools of the Torah) especially due to the devotion for the Tomb of King David which is believed to be located beneath the Upper Room.
This was the seat of the Mother Church of Jerusalem for many years. This was also the first Friary the Franciscans bought through the Kings of Naples and from which they have been evicted. The structures around the "Upper Room" are in fact remnants of the Franciscan medieval Friary.
Upon entering the "Upper Room" you find yourself in a large hall. The ceiling is supported by three pillars which divide the room into three naves. The pillars and the arches, windows and other Gothic style architectural elements are a clear indication the room was built by the Crusaders in the early XIV century, on top of a much older structure most probably pre-dating the first churches erected in Palestine. This old structure, according to the archaeological research, was a church-synagogue of the early Christian community of Jerusalem.
The "Upper Room" brings to mind the scene of momentuous events recounted in the Gospels: the institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper, Jesus' appearance before the Apostles after His Resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit over the Apostles at Pentecost.
The last episode is commemorated in the Chapel of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, exactly above the room where King David's Tomb is venerated.
After the Franciscan Friars' eviction, this room was transformed into a mosque, as evidenced by the mihrab (the niche indicating the direction of Mecca for prayers). The Arabic inscription prohibiting public prayer at the site, is still visible on the wall.