Dominus Flevit Church

Dominus Flevit Church

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Dominus Flevit is a Roman Catholic church located on the Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge in East Jerusalem with three peaks running from north to south. The highest, at-Tur, rises to 818 meters . It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes...

 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
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, while walking toward the city of Jerusalem, becomes overwhelmed by the beauty of the Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 and predicting its future destruction, and the diaspora
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

 of the Jewish people, weeps openly.

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
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 period, as well as tombs from both the Second Temple and Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...


The site of Christ's weeping was unmarked until the Crusader
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 era. It was during this time that people began commemorating the site. Eventually a small chapel was built there. After the fall of Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem (1187)
On July 4, 1187 the Kingdom's army was defeated at the Battle of Hattin by Saladin and only Balian of Ibelin commanding a small number of soldiers remained in Jerusalem. The Siege of Jerusalem lasted from September 20 to October 2, 1187. On October 2, 1187 Balian of Ibelin surrendered Jerusalem to...

 in 1187, the church fell into ruin. In the early sixteenth century a mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 or madrasah
Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

 existed at the site, presumably built by the Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, 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
Sisters of St. Joseph
The title Sisters of St. Joseph applies to several Roman Catholic religious congregations of women. The largest and oldest of these was founded in Le Puy-en-Velay, France...

, who eventually sold it to a Portuguese
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 woman. In 1940, the Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 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
Bellarmino Bagatti
Bellarmino Camillo Bagatti was a controversial 20th century archaeologist and ordained priest .Among his writings was the book Excavations in Nazareth. Vol. II. From the 12th century until Today....

, OFM.

A late bronze era tomb from the Canaanite period, as well as a necropolis
A necropolis is a large cemetery or burial ground, usually including structural tombs. The word comes from the Greek νεκρόπολις - nekropolis, literally meaning "city of the dead"...

 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
Kokh is a type of tomb complex characterized by a series of long narrow shafts, in which the deceased were placed for burial, radiating from a central chamber...

 style. While the Byzantine era section was composed of tombs with arcosolium
An arcosolium is an arched recess used as a place of entombment. The word is from Latin arcus, "arch", and solium, "sill" ....

 from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. A Byzantine monastery from the 5th century was also discovered. Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

s from this monastery still remain at the site. The current church was designed and constructed between 1953 and 1955 by the Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 architect Antonio Barluzzi
Antonio Barluzzi
Antonio Barluzzi was an Italian Franciscan monk and architect, known as the "Architect of the Holy Land"...

 and is currently held in trust by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.

External links

Further reading

  • Bellarmino Bagatti and Milik, 1968. Gli scavi del Dominus Flevit An account of the excavations, 1953-55.