The Mount Of Olives PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stephen Langfur
Article Index
The Mount Of Olives
City Of David
Solomon to Herod
Pater Noster Church

Jesus' entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday)

dominus-reading.jpgWe walk partway down the Mt. of Olives and enter the grounds of the church with the black tear-drop dome, Dominus Flevit. This is a good place to read from the Bible.

Ever since Zechariah (14:1-4) prophesied that "a day is coming for the Lord," people have associated the Mt. of Olives with the arrival of the Messiah:

Behold, a day of Yahweh comes, when your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city will go out into captivity, and the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Then Yahweh will go out and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. His feet will stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in two, from east to west, making a very great valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

It was important, therefore, that Jesus, as the Messiah, should approach the city over this mountain. In fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, he does so riding on a donkey.

dominus-basim-3.jpgThis is the best place to read about Jesus' entry on Palm Sunday in Luke 19.

There, in verse 42, when Jesus says, "“If you, even you, had known today the things which belong to your peace!" there may be a reference to a verse from Psalm 122, which pilgrims used to sing on first seeing the city: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." There are also echoes in this passage of a dialogue from Psalm 118, between the priests at the Temple and the approaching pilgrims. John 12:12-13 includes the palm fronds, giving us the tradition of Palm Sunday. 

Dominus Flevit ("The Lord weeps")

This Roman Catholic church (1955) has a dome in the shape of a tear drop, with phials on the corners, such as the women of antiquity used in order to catch and store their tears. Well into building the church, the workers discovered ancient Jewish cemeteries, dating from the 1st century BC to the 5th AD. This was something of a disappointment. It meant that a main road would probably not have come through here: Jewish priests, many of whom lived in Jericho, would have had to use the road. If it had led through the cemetery, it would have rendered them impure for service.


Dominus Flevit is built on the ruins of a 5th-century monastery. One of its mosaics, with an inscription offering a prayer on behalf of "Simeon, friend of Christ," is visible to the left just before entering the church. Inside, we can see the apse of the monastery chapel, facing east. The present church, however, has its apse facing west, because of the glorious view:

Logistics: Open 8.00 - 12.00, 14.30 - 17.00. Wear modest dress . There are rest rooms.