Ancient Sources

Mount Ephraim and Benjamin


57. Gethsemane - (Gethsemani)

ORIGINAL TEXTS

Gethsemani locus ubi ante passionem Salvator oravit. Est autem ad radices montis Oliveti nunc ecclesia desuper aedificata.
(Jerome 75:18-19)


ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Matt 26:36
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray.

Eusebius, Onomasticon 74:16-18; Jerome 75:18-19
Gethsemane (Matt 26:36), a place where the Saviour prayed before the passion. It is at the foot of the Mount of Olives, and today [the faithful eagerly go to pray there] a church has been built on it.

BIBLICAL BACKGROUND

Jesus' prayer at Gethsemane

Matt 26:36-46
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."
He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, "I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me."
And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want."
Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?
Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Again he went away for the second time and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done."
Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.
So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.
Then he came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.

Mk 14:32-42
They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated.
And said to them, "I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake."
And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, "Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want." He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand."

Luke 22:39-53
He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him.
When he reached the place, he said to them, "Pray that you may not come into the time of trial."
Then he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and prayed,
"Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done."
Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength.
In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.
When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial."
While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, "Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?"
When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, "Lord, should we strike with the sword?"
Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus said, "No more of this!" And he touched his ear and healed him.
Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, "Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit?
When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!"

Joh 18:1-11
After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.
Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples.
So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.
Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, "Whom are you looking for?"
They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus replied, "I am he." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
When Jesus said to them, "I am he," they stepped back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, "Whom are you looking for?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go."
This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, "I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me."
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus.
Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?"

MORE ANCIENT SOURCES

Itinerarium Burdigalense 594 (333 A.D.)
Arriving at the gate of Jerusalem which faces the east, on your way to go up the Mount of Olives, you come to what is called the Valley of Jehoshaphat. On the left is a vineyard where is also the rock where Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ; and on the right is the palm tree from which the children took branches and strewed them in Christ's path.

Egeria, Itinerarium 36 (381-384 A.D.)
When the cocks begin to crow, everyone leaves the Imbomon, and comes down with singing to the place where the Lord prayed, as the Gospels describe in the passage which begins, "And he was parted from them about a stone's cast, and prayed."The bishop and all the people go into a graceful church which has been built there, and have a prayer appropriate to the place and the day, and one suitable hymn. Then the Gospel passage is read when he said to his disciples, "Watch, lest ye enter into temptation", and, when the whole passage has been read, there is another prayer.

Breviarius de Hierosolyma 7 (6th cent. A.D.)
A basilica is there where at one time sick persons used to wash and be healed. There too is the basilica of St. Mary and also her Tomb. There too Judas betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ. There too is the place where the lord had supper with his disciples and from which he went up onto the Mount. To the right of that is the Valley of Jehoshaphat where the Lord will judge the righteous and the sinners. There too is the little brook which will belch flame at the end of the age. Two basilicas are there where the Lord tauggt his disciples. And from there you come to Galilee, where the disciples saw the Lord Jesus after he rose from dead.

Theodosius, De situ Terrae Sanctae10 (ca. 530 A.D.)
The Valley of Jehoshaphat is there: ther Judas betrayed my Lord: there is the Church of my Lady Mary, the Mother of the Lord: there also the Lord washed the disciples' feet and held the Supper: four couches are there in the place where my Lord reclined in the midst of the apostles, and each couch holds three men. Several of those who have come there for a religious reason like to eat food there (but not meat), and to light lamps where my Lord himself washed the apostles' feet. Also this place is in a cave, and two hundred monks go down there now.

Anonymus Placentinus, Itinerarium 16 (ca. 570 A.D.)
Not far from Jerusalem, on the way up the hill-country that leads there, we arrived at Bahurim, and from there we went left to the towns on the Mount of Olives, and at Bethany to Lazarus' Tomb Coming down the Mount of Olives we arrived at the valley of Gethsemane and the place where the Lord was betrayed. In it are three couches on which he reclined and where we also reclined to gain their blessing. There is also a basilica of Saint Mary in the valley, which people say was her house, and the place at which she was taken up from this life. This valley of Gethsemane is also at this place called Jehoshaphat. We climbed by many steps up from Gethsemane to the gate of Jerusalem.


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Created Saturday, December 16, 2000 at 13:06:28
by Eugenio Alliata ofm in collaboration with Stefano de Luca ofm
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copyright - Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem 2000