The Chapel of Ascension
The Chapel of Ascension
The Chapel of Ascension is one of the holiest sites on the Mount of Olives commemorating the ascension of Christ to heaven 40 days after his resurrection. just 300 meters from the famous observation point, the church was originally constructed during the 4th century by Constantin the Great and his mother Helena, around the rock with Jesus' footprint. the church was destroyed later by the Persians and rebuilt by the Crusaders during the 12th century, later in 1187 destroyed again by the Salah A Din but preserved the central part with the footprint and turned the church into a mosque and still allowed Christian believers to pray.
The Ascension Stone is a stone slab with a right footprint inside the chapel. This is thought to be the footprint that Jesus left behind when he ascended to heaven. The stone footprint on the left has been relocated to Temple Mount's Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Here are a few bible verses related to the Ascension location of Jesus
2)“After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).
3)" After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight..” (Acts 1:9).
4)"Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. (Acts 1:12).
How to visit the Chapel of the Ascension on Mount of Olives?
To visit one of the most important Jerusalem's religious sites, Drive through the slopes of the Mount of Olives through Abu Tur village, and reach the top of the mountain, with signs containing a symbol of a cross, across the road, you will find a grocery shop.
The Chapel of the Ascension, a well-known Christian pilgrimage site, is managed by a Muslim organization called the "Waqf "but is open for all visitors from all faiths, the entrance is very narrow and there is a symbolic entry fee.
Near the exit, there is a figure called Sit’ Raba’a al-Aduwiyyeh, according to an old Christian legend, this is the tomb of a Pelagia a saint woman who was dressed as a man for disguising or according to the Jewish tradition perhaps the tomb of prophetess Hulda.
Did Jesus truly rise from the dead on the Mount of Olives?
While the book of Acts records the rising of Jesus to happen on "Mount of Olives", the Gospel of Luke archives a somewhat talking about a different extraordinary area for this occasion:
"When he had driven them out to the region of Bethany, he lifted his hands and favored them. While he was favoring them, he left them and was taken up into paradise.." (Luke 24:50-51).
Bethany(Bitaniya) is recognized at "Al-Eizaryia", a little Arab-Palestinian town on the eastern inclines of Mount of Olives.
the origin of the Arab name is related to a Christian occasion that occurred in Bethany – the raising of Lazarus from the Dead.
A church in "Al-Eizaryia" dedicated the raising of Lazarus from the dead, yet in the gospel of Luke, no site in "Al-Eizariya" recognizes the Ascension of Jesus.
Parallel sites in Jerusalem
1. Eleona Church
Except for the ascension Chapel, more Parallel sites share the same memory and tradition, just a few steps away there is a big church called "Pater Noster" which is also related to the ascension of Jesus to heaven, this church was built by the great queen Helena coming from Constantinople during the 4th century to build monuments dedicated to Jesus and the holy family.
The church was called Eleona since the Greek translation is "olive grove" or simply Mount of Olives! later the tradition was moved to the nearest chapel of ascension and later the Crusaders dedicated the church to the event when Jesus was teaching the "Lord's Prayer"
The church was the first site to commemorate the ascension of Jesus to heaven.
On the pick of the Mount of Olives and just 100 meters from the “Chapel of the Ascension” with a tall bell tower rising a Russian Orthodox church is also dedicated to the ascension of Jesus to heaven.
This is one of the holiest places for Russians purchased in 1870 by the archimandrite Antonin Kapustin, the money was donated by the great Russian church, and the bell tower according to the Russian traditions was carried by nuns from the Jaffa port.
Inside you can find a rock that symbols the place where Jesus' student Mary Magdalena stood while Jesus ascended to heaven, this tradition is mentioned in external Russian books but not in the New Testament.
There is an option to climb the bell tower for a small donation to observe the Judean desert and the West Bank.
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