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Dominus Flevit Church

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Dominus Flevit Places of Interest (Mediu

Places of Interest

Dominus Flevit Church 

 

Location

 

1. Dominus Flevit (Latin for "the Lord wept") is a Roman Catholic church on the Mount of Olives, opposite the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem in Israel. 

2. It's located halfway down the western slope of the Mount of Olives and marks the place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem's future fate.

 

3. The Triumphal Entry begins at the upper part of the Mount of Olives and winds its way down to the bottom of the mountain to the Garden of Gethsemane.

 

Historical Background

 

1. The present church (finished in 1955) was built upon the foundations of an earlier Byzantine church from the 5th century, which, like most churches, faced east.

2. During the Crusader era (1095-1291 AD), people began commemorating the location. 

3. After the fall of Jerusalem in 1187, the church fell into ruin. 

4. Around 1525 AD, the Turks claimed to have built a mosque or madrasah using the remains of the earlier church. 

5. For quite some time, the Franciscans could not obtain the ruins of the original Dominus Flevit Church. In 1891, they solved this problem by purchasing a plot of land nearby and building a small chapel on it.

 

6. In 1913, a private home was built in front of the Franciscan chapel. The home went to the Sisters of Saint Joseph, though they eventually sold it to a Portuguese woman. During the construction of the boundary wall of this private home, the workers found the remains of ancient tombs. The site was then thoroughly excavated from 1953 to 1955. 

7. During the sanctuary's construction, archaeologists uncovered artifacts dating back to the Canaanite period, as well as tombs from the Second Temple and Byzantine eras.

​8. Other artifacts found were a tomb from the bronze era and a necropolis (building used to encase tombs) dating back between 136 BC and 300 AD. This particular necropolis spanned two different periods, as suggested by the two very different tomb styles. The Second Temple era tombs are in the Koki style and the Byzantine period tombs had an arcosolium from the 4th century.

9. In 1940, the Benedictine Sisters sold part of the property to the Franciscans. The old boundary wall was moved at this time to make the division. In 1953, the Franciscans began construction of another wall. While digging the foundations, workers unearthed ancient tombs. 

10. The modern church, designed by the Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi and constructed between 1953 and 1955, is held in trust by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. 

 

Places of Interest

 

1. Triumphal Entry Path

2. Entrance to Dominus Flevit Church Property

3. Just after entering the church property, to the right are ancient burial caves with different kinds of tombs. This is also called a Necropolis, which is a building used to encase tombs.

  • The first type of tomb is a slab with an arch. This was a common tomb style during Christ's time. It was used for wealthier people.

  • The second tomb style is an open shaft and was used for middle-class people. Lower-class people were just buried in the ground with little or no markers.

  • During this time period, the bones would be gathered for a second burial after about a year (when the bodies had decomposed) and placed in boxes called "Ossuaries."

4. Outside the Modern Church

  • It was designed by the Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi and constructed between 1953 and 1955. It is held in trust by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. 

  • It is shaped in the form of a tear. Signifying Christ weeping over Jerusalem because of the future destruction He knew would come because the city rejected Him as their Messiah.

  • It has four jars on the upper corners for holding tears, which was common in Jesus's time. A tear bottle is a small glass bottle representing sorrow described in the Bible. Tear bottles were used to capture an individual’s tears during moments of grief as a sign of mourning or repentance. The bottles on this church represent the tears Jesus shed over Jerusalem. The Bible says that one day, God will wipe away all our tears: "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

 

5. Pillars from the Crusader Period

  • It appears these pillars were part of a Crusader Church from around 1150 AD, built over the ruins of the original Byzantine Church.

 

6. Mosaic from the Byzantine Church

  • Just to the left of the modern church is a Byzantine mosaic floor dating to the beginning of the fourth or fifth century AD. 

  • Ribbons and wave motifs surround the floor. The center of the carpet is divided by squares containing round frames.

  • The circles contain fruit, vegetables, flowers, and fish. The motifs reflect the importance of agriculture in Jerusalem's Byzantine era. 

  • Parts of the mosaic can also be seen inside the modern church building, with a limestone slab bearing a large cross in the middle.

7. Inside the Modern Church

  • Apse of the Byzantine Church — After entering the modern church, the original apse (semi-round circle marking the front of a church) can be seen. The original Byzantine church faced east, as did all churches during this era. Some of the mosaic floors have been preserved from this church. A cross from this period can be seen at the center of the floor.

  • Ceiling—The ceiling is covered with gold. This color represents heavenly tears, namely, those of Jesus as He wept for Jerusalem, knowing its coming destruction.

  • Four carved reliefs on the sides of the ceiling show the (1) Triumphal Entry, (2) the destruction of Jerusalem, (3) Mary, the mother of Jesus and other women, and (4) Peter, James, and John, disciples of Jesus.

  • The western window of the Dominus Flevit Church provides a beautiful view of the Temple Mount. 

  • A mosaic on the altar of the Dominus Flevit Church illustrates a hen gathering her chickens, according to Luke 13:34: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!

8. Crown of Thorns Tree

  • Right in front of the modern church is a tree with huge thorns. It was from a tree like this that the crown of thorns was most likely made and placed on Jesus' head.

9. Location Where the Ashes of the Red Heifer Were Offered

  • Some believe the ashes of the Red Heifer would have been offered in this area. It was right across from the Temple and fits the biblical description. 

 

Numbers 19:1-3: Now the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 “This is the statute of the law that the Lord has commanded: Tell the people of Israel to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish, and on which a yoke has never come. 3 And you shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him.

10. Winepress

  • While the Mount of Olives consisted mainly of olive trees, it also had vineyards on it. Here is an ancient winepress that was used for processing grapes. People would crush the grapes in the large pit (barefoot so they wouldn't crush the seeds and make the wine bitter), and then the juice would flow by gravity down the lower part into wine barrels for making wine.

11. Bethphage (beginning point of the Triumphal Entry)

 

12. Mount of Olives

 

​13. Garden of Gethsemane

 

14. Temple Mount

15. Kidron Valley

Triumphal Entry Background

1. The Triumphal Entry was a major event in the life of Jesus wherein He entered Jerusalem on the Sunday before He would be crucified (Friday the Passover) and rise from the dead the following Sunday.

 

2. Christ designed this event to broadcast to the Nation of Israel that He was their Passover Lamb.

 

3. It is also called Palm Sunday because palm branches were laid on the road as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

 

4. It would mark Christ’s last days of intensive teaching and condemnation of the Jews for rejecting Him and His message.

 

5. It would begin Christ’s last week on earth.

Triumphal Entry in the Bible

 

1. The Triumphal Entry was prophesied in the Old Testament.
Some 450–500 years earlier, the Prophet Zechariah prophesied: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9).

2. The Triumphal Entry was fulfilled in the New Testament.

 

Matthew 21:7–9: They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

 

3. Palm Sunday was also the fulfillment of the Prophet Daniel's "seventy-sevens" prophecy.
Daniel 9:25: Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. 

 

4. The Triumphal Entry, which occurred the Sunday before the Passover, was also lamb selection day for the Passover.  
According to Exodus 12, this was the day set aside for each Israelite family to choose the lamb they would kill for their Passover meal. The blood from their lamb was to be put on the doorposts of their homes so the angel of death would not kill their firstborn children. The Passover was celebrated each year to mark their deliverance from Egypt and how God had miraculously saved them. The fact that Christ entered Jerusalem on this very day was no accident. He was proclaiming Himself as the Passover Lamb, not only for the Israelites but for all humanity.

 

5. Christ entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey.
Luke 19:28–35: And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, "Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' you shall say this: 'The Lord has need of it.'" 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?" 34 And they said, "The Lord has need of it." 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it.

 

  • The meaning of a donkey. 

A donkey was a symbol of peace; a horse was a symbol of war. Christ came to make peace with mankind at His first coming by dying for our sins. However, at His second coming He will come riding a horse to wage war with mankind and judge them for their sinful rejection of Him.

 

6. The crowd took branches of palm trees and cried out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
John 12:12–13: So, they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!"

 

  • It was a cry for deliverance from Roman occupation. The last time the Israelites had their freedom, during the Maccabean rule from 167–63 BC, their money had the symbol of a palm branch as a sign of freedom. It was like the national flag of a country. It was the Jew’s way of saying that they wanted Christ to be their King and deliver them from the Romans.The meaning of the palm branches.

7. At the place marked by the church, Dominus Flevit, Christ paused and wept over Jerusalem. 
Luke 19:41–44: And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation."

 

  • There are only two times in the Bible where it is noted that Christ wept. The first time was at the death of Lazarus, and the second during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Both places are located on the Mount of Olives.

 

  • In this account of Christ weeping, He wept for those who aren’t saved and the judgment that awaits them.

 

  • Within 40 years, in AD 70, Jesus’ prophecy was fulfilled. Roman legions besieged Jerusalem and, after six months of fighting, burnt the temple and leveled the city.

 

8. The first time Christ wept took place at the death of Lazarus just a week or so earlier on the backside of the Mount of Olives.
J
ohn 11:33–36: When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" 

 

  • In this account, Christ weeps for those who suffer.

Faith Lesson

 

1. The Triumphal Entry was a prophesied event from the Old Testament and reveals the validity of Scripture and God’s sovereignty. 

 

2. Christ wept over Jerusalem because of their rejection of Him and the judgment that would await them as a result. Does Christ weep for you because you don’t know Him and will be separated from Him in hell for all eternity?

 

3. Christ wept with those at the death of Lazarus. Does Christ weep with you as He understands your pain and suffering?

 

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