The Churches of the Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives overlooks Jerusalem’s Old City it is home to some of the most beautiful and historic churches in the city.
Church of Mary Magdalene (The Russian Orthodox Church)
The distinctive seven gold onion domes of this beautiful church shine out on the landscape of the Mt. of Olives. The building was constructed in 1888 in honor of the Russian czar’s mother. The church has a traditional Russian 17th century tent structure and within the church are exquisite mosaics.
Russian Orthodox Convent and Church of the Ascension
The 64 meter tall tower of this site stands out from its location in the village of A-Tur located on the Mount of Olives. According to Russian Orthodox tradition this was the site of Jesus’ ascension. The church and convent were built in 1870-1887 and there is also a chapel dedicated to John the Baptist.
Augusta Victoria Lutheran Hospital, Church and Tower
The Augusta Victoria Lutheran Hospital (AVH) tower is a prominent feature of the Mt. of Olives skyline. The AVH was established in 1950 and since then has been involved in helping Palestinian refugees and providing services to the Palestinian community in cooperation with UNRWA and the UN. The building was constructed in 1910 and was the first in Jerusalem to have electricity.
Chapel of the Ascension (Dome of Ascension)
Situated at the highest point in Jerusalem, the small octagonal chapel has a distinctive dome and was constructed in 392AD; it marks the place where Jesus is thought to have ascended to heaven (Acts 7-11). A stone with an imbedded footprint is believed to be the footprint of Jesus as he stepped up to heaven. The original structure was destroyed by Persians in 614AD and reconstructed by the Crusaders. In 1198 it was purchased by Saladin and functioned as a mosque. Today it belongs to the Islamic Waqf of Jerusalem and a mosque has been constructed adjacent to the Chapel which draws many Christian visitors.
Church of All Nations (Basilica of the Agony)
This is the Mount of Olives’ most prominent and most beautiful church, it is recognizable by the stunning gold mosaic on the church façade. The church is adjacent to the Garden of Gethsemane and marks the place where Jesus prayed on the night of his arrest. A large rock near the high altar is said to be where Jesus prayed. The church’s construction was funded by 12 nations, hence the name of the church. Within the church each of the nations is remembered by a mosaic inlaid in the gold ceiling of the churches 12 cupolas.
Dominus Flevit (The Lord Wept)
This church was designed by Anton Barluzzi and constructed in 1955; it resembles the shape of a tear drop in memory of the moment when Christ wept as he foresaw the destruction of Jerusalem. The Franciscan church is located between the Tomb of the Prophets and the Church of St. Mary Magdalene.
Pater Noster (The Church of the Lord’s Prayer)
This convent and church are built on the site where Jesus is thought to have taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2); the cave adjacent to the church is the actual site where the Biblical event is thought to have occurred. The present church was built in 1874 after the destruction of earlier churches on the site. The church is run by the Catholic Carmelite Cloistered Sisters who reside in the adjoining convent.
Other sites on the Mount of Olives include the Tomb of Mujir al-Din al-Ulaymi; the Tomb of the Prophets; Mary’s Tomb; Brigham Young University – Jerusalem Campus; Burial Crypt of Rabiya al-Adawiyya, Pelagia, Hulda; the Ibrahimieh Community College; Garden of Gethsemane; International House of Prayer; Jerusalem Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children and the Little Family of Resurrection.