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Danny The Digger - Israel Private Tours

The First Church of Jerusalem?

Mount Zion is associated by Christian tradition with the site of the Last Supper, where the apostles hid after Jesus’ crucifixion, and where the Pentacost took place – the Holy Spirit enabling the disciples to speak in many languages, and so spread Christianity to the world.

The leader of the community was James, who was possibly the brother the Jesus. After his execution, Simon, a cousin of Jesus was appointed to head the community. According to Historian Eusebius, when the big Jewish rebellion against Rome broke (66 CE) the Christian community fled to Pella in Jordan.  But after the war they returned to Jerusalem and re-established the Christian presence in the city. Apparently after crashing another Jewish rebellion the Roman forbade Jews of all faiths to reside in Jerusalem. The Christians stayed in the city, but from 135 CE they would be only gentile Christians. It is quite possible that these Christians also kept the memory of the Holy Christian sites in Jerusalem through the Roman Period.

Visiting the Site

Some claim that an archaeological site on the southern slopes of Mount Zion bears remains of the first church of Jerusalem, from the 1st century. The site contains remains a typical Jewish ritual bath (“Miqveh”) from the first century. At a later stage the site was converted into a chapel. One cannot rule out that the early Christians dwelt here, using the Jewish ritual bath for Baptism. However, it is also possible that it is a hermitage of Monks fromt the Byzantine period.

The site belongs to the Greek Orthodox church, and is closed to the public. Nevertheless, it can be seen from beyond the fence around it, and it was cleaned in 2018. There is no mark or sign at the site, and frankly very few tour guides and local are even aware of this site.

A Presenting the Site and the Theory That it Relates to the First Christians

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

Cenacle
Dormition Abbey
king david tomb markKing David’s Tomb Mark on Mount Zion

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