The Church of the Pater Noster is a Roman Catholic church located on one of the summits of Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. By current Christian tradition it is the site where Jesus taught his disciples “The Lord’s Prayer”.
History of the Pater Noster Church
The site of the church is over a 4th century Basilica that commemorated the ascension of Jesus. The commemoration Basilica was built by Constantine the Great, and under the direction of his mother, Empress Helena. It was called the church of the Eleona (Greek For “Olive Grove”) as it was built among olives trees that still continue to dominate the Mount of Olives to this day. In the Byzantine period the grotto was also used for the burial of the bishops of Jerusalem.
The Eleona church was destroyed in the Persian invasion in 614 CE, and when it was rebuilt by the Crusaders, it was associated instead with the teaching of the Lord’s prayer. The ascension of Jesus was commemorated in a nearby location – the Chapel of the Ascension.
The Crusaders church was also destroyed, and by 1345 it was abandoned. The Current church began to be built in 1915, but it was never completed. Nevertheless, the site attracts many pilgrims, venerating the place and the message of the Lord’s prayer –
|“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:2-4)|
Visiting the Church of the Pater Noster
The church is open Monday to Saturday, 8:00 till noon, and 14:00 to 17:00. Walls built in alignment with the ancient Eleona Basilica display the “Lord’s Prayer in over 140 languages on colorful ceramic plaques.
At the center of the Basilica is a cave, said to be where Jesus and the disciples stayed. Here, by local tradition, Jesus introduced to them “Lord’s Prayer”, and warned them of deceivers
|” 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?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ ‘ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. |
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:3-14)
For a full appreciation of the site it is recommended to combine it with a guided day tour of Jerusalem.
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Points of Interest in the Area
|Mount of Olives viewpoint|
|Chapel of the Ascension|