Then came the day of the unleavened bread … So Jesus sent John and Peter saying: ‘Go and prepare the Passover for us …  a man carrying a jar of water will meet you  … follow him … and he will show you a large upper room.‘” Luke 22;7-13) . as early as the Byzantine period Christian pilgrims venerated Mount Zion as the place of the Last Supper.

Today pilgrims gather here to recall not only the events of the Last Supper but also “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven … and there appeared to them tongues as of fire …  and they began to speak in other tongues” (Acts 2:1-13)

And, as pilgrims flock to the Holy land from Christian communities all over the world, the prayers which fill the hall are in many, many different languages.

The upper room may well be part of the church of the Crusader monastery which was converted to a khan, an inn, in the sixteenth century when the Franciscan custodians were expelled. Until 1948 the room served as a mosque, as attested by   the mi’hrab – prayer alcove – in the southern wall and access to Jewish and Christian pilgrims was denied.

The capital of one of the columns at the head of  the staircase leading down to  the tomb of David is decorated with pelicans, an early Christian symbol symbolizing the sacrifice of Jesus.

Text content copyrights: Bein Harim Ltd., Beryl Ratzer (www.ratzer.com)

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