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The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem
Dominus Flevit in Wikipedia
Dominus Flevit is a Roman Catholic church located on the Mount of Olives immediately facing
the Old City of Jerusalem.
Dominus Flevit, which translates from Latin as "The Lord Wept", was fashioned in the shape of
a teardrop to symbolize the tears of Christ. Here, according to the 19th chapter of the
Gospel of Luke, Jesus, while walking toward the city of Jerusalem, becomes overwhelmed by the
beauty of the Second Temple and predicting its future destruction, and the diaspora of the
Jewish people, weeps openly. (Luke 19:37-42 )
One of the newest churches in Jerusalem, Dominus Flevit sits atop an ancient site. During
construction of the sanctuary archaeologists uncovered artifacts dating back to the Canaanite
period, as well as tombs from both the Second Temple and Byzantine eras.
The site of Christ's weeping was unmarked until the Crusader era. It was during this time
that people began commemorating the site. Eventually a small chapel was built there. After
the fall of Jerusalem in 1187, the church fell into ruin. In the early sixteenth century a
mosque or madrasah existed at the site, presumably built by the Turks, from the remains of
the earlier church, although the exact use is disputed. This place was known as el
Mansouriyeh (The Triumphant) and also el Khelweh (The Hermitage).
The Franciscans were unable to obtain the ruins, so, in 1891 they purchased a small plot of
land nearby and built a small chapel there. In 1913 a small private home was built in front
of the Franciscan chapel by one Miss Mellon. This home eventually passed to the Sisters of
St. Joseph, who eventually sold it to a Portuguese woman. In 1940, the Benedictine Sisters,
being in financial hardship, sold a part of the property to the Franciscans, the old boundary
wall was moved at this time to make the division. The sisters were not content with the
quality of this wall and in 1953 the Franciscans began construction of a more suitable one.
While digging the foundations for the wall workers unearthed ancient tombs. Excavations
imemdiately began at the site, led by Fr. Bellarmino Bagatti, OFM.
A late bronze era tomb from the Canaanite period, as well as a necropolis used from 136 BC to
300 AD were discovered. The necropolis spanned two separate periods, characterized by
differing tomb styles. The earlier Second Temple era tombs were of the Kokhim style. While
the Byzantine era section was composed of tombs with arcosolium from the 3rd and 4th
centuries AD. A Byzantine monastery from the 5th century was also discovered. Mosaics from
this monastery still remain at the site. The current church was designed and constructed
between 1953 and 1955 by the Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi and is currently held in
trust by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.
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