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Lithostrotos is a term in Greek (λιθόστρωτος) that means “stone pavement.” According to John 19:13, the last part of Jesus’ trial occurred at the Lithostrotos in front of the city Judgment Hall.

Lithostrotos and the Trial of Jesus

All the Gospels of the New Testament record the trial of Jesus to take place in the Praetorium. Most of the Christians denominations identify Jeruaslem’s Praetorium at the Antonia, a fortress built by King Herod north of the Temple Mount. At the end of his trial, the judge, Pontius Pilate, introduced Jesus to the public and discussed his guilt. The Gospel of John records adds where this took place –

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). (John 19:13).

Tracking the Lithostrotos

In 1857, an ancient paved area was exposed while constructing a new convent north of the Temple Mount. The large flagstones, some with Roman gameboards chiseled, left no doubt that the pavement dates to Roman times. Being so, shcolars identified with the “stone pavement” mentioned in John 19:13. A Roman-era triumphal arch next to the stone pavement, the Ecce Homo Arch, was associated with the trial of Jesus as well. However, later archaeological research demonstrated that the Romans formed the triumphal arch and the stone pavement around 130-135 AD, a century after the time of Jesus. Nevertheless, conservative views still attribute both to the time and trial of Jesus in the first century.

Visiting the Lithostrotos

The site is accesible from the convent of the Sister of Zion in the Muslim Quarter.

A visit to the Lithostrotos can be integrated into a day tour of Jerusalem.

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