Dominus Flevit Church – Where the Lord Wept
Dominus Flevit, translated as “The Lord Wept” in Latin, is a significant Roman-Catholic church along the western slope of the Mount of Olives. Situated along the traditional route Jesus took during his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, this sacred site holds historical and religious importance.
History of Dominus Flevit Church
The significance of the church stems from the New Testament record of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. According to all the Gospels, as Jesus reaches the city from Mount of Olives, he laments its future destruction:
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19:41-44).
Jesus’ morbid prediction proved to be true, and by the year 70 AD, Jerusalem was razed to the ground by the Romans.
The first church complex built at the site was established in the Byzantine period. The modern church was completed in 1955. Designed by the Italian Architect Antonio Berluzzi, it is shaped like a teardrop, to echo Jesus’s tears when lamenting Jerusalem’s fate.
During the development of this site, archaeologists uncovered several first-century Jewish burials. Some of them were in small stone coffins (ossuaries) whose names are familiar in the New Testament. Some Franciscan scholars suggested that these burials were of early followers of Jesus.
Touring the Church of Dominus Flevit
The site is open every day of the week from 8:00 to 11:45 and from 14:30 to 17:00. There is no entry fee, but a modest dress code is required. The main church is built over the remains of a Byzantine-era church, whose mosaic floors bear geometric patterns and Greek inscriptions. The first-century Jewish tombs are visible next to the entrance to the site.
The church not only serves as a place of worship but also offers visitors a panoramic view of the Old City of Jerusalem, enhancing the spiritual experience. The architecture, combined with the biblical significance, makes Dominus Flevit Church a meaningful destination for pilgrims and tourists alike.
A tour of the Church of Dominus Flevit can be integrated with a guided day tour of Jerusalem.