Franciscans contact the top Room wherein the Pentecost took ar as ‘the most vital room in Christendom’

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the upper Room and also Cenacle in Jerusalem on may 26, 2014. PHOTO

Closed due to the fact that the brand-new coronavirus condition (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown on in march 5, the Church that the divine Sepulcher in Jerusalem reopened to pilgrims last might 24, and the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem reopened two days later. Other Christian sites are expected to reopen in the following weeks, consisting of what the Franciscan Custody the the divine Land has called as “the most vital room in Christendom.”

Said to have been the site where the Apostles and also the Blessed mom received the holy Spirit during Pentecost, the top Room is situated on the upper floor of a two-story structure south the the Zion gate in the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

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The upper Room is additionally known as the Cenacle, since it is likewise believed to be whereby the critical Supper took location (“cenacle” way “dining room”).

By tradition, too, that is the exact same room wherein Jesus showed up to the apostles after the Resurrection, and also where the showed later His wounds to the incredulous St. Cutting board the Apostle.

As the Cenacle, the website is where the Sacrament the the holy Eucharist was instituted. Together the top Room whereby the divine Spirit came as tongues of fire on the Apostles, the is the birth-place of the Church.

But the site is the topic of political controversy due to the fact that it also considered far-reaching by the Muslims and Jews. Muslims consider it a mosque; in fact above it is a minaret. However the Israelis consider it a Jewish shrine since below that is a framework they thought about to be the tomb of David. Since 1948 top top the creation of the State of Israel the structure has remained in the control of Israel.

That the site is a bone the contention between geopolitical and spiritual players should present the multistoried worth of the place.

The Franciscans got into possession of the Cenacle in the 14th century, restoring the building and providing that Gothic vaults, which have remained visible to travellers today. But in 1522 the footrest Turks captured Jerusalem and evicted the friars and also transformed the Cenacle right into a mosque. Christians to be banned native the site until 1948 when the new State that Israel permitted Christian pilgrims back.

Pope Francis

It is through Israel’s permission that Pope Francis held a Mass in ~ the upper Room on may 26, 2014 throughout his apostolic visit that the divine Land.

If there to be lingering doubt on the historic truthfulness the the website as the upper Room and also the Cenacle, Pope Francis seemed to have actually banished them.

“Dear Brothers, that is a great gift that the lord has offered us through bringing us together right here in the top Room because that the celebration event of the Eucharist,” he stated in his homily.

“Here, whereby Jesus shared the last Supper through the apostles; where, ~ his resurrection, he appeared in their midst; wherein the holy Spirit descended with power top top Mary and also the disciples. Right here the Church to be born, and was born to go forth. “

Fr. Jerome Murphy O’ Connor, O.P., and also other biblical archeological scholars describe the “literary tradition” the situates the house of the upper Room on mountain Zion, the southwestern hill of Old Jerusalem i beg your pardon at the time of Jesus would have actually been inside the city walls.

Nowadays, that course, Mt Zion is external the walls because that part of the city was ruined during the Jewish War. It remained uninhabited till the oriental era when brand-new constructions started in the 4th century.

Recent excavations have found the continues to be of a synagogue-like framework containing graffiti comparable to those by Jewish christians in the very first centuries of Christianity. The stone floor that the remains is claimed to it is in from the late Roman duration and the wall surfaces are stated to it is in reused indigenous old Herodian structures.

Fr. Murphy O’Connor claimed that since the Romans had ruined Jerusalem and renamed that Aelia Capitolina, over there must have been on mount Zion a Jewish Christian place of worship recognized as “the tiny house the God.”

The Dominican biblical archeologist claimed that the fact that it to be dangerous come reach the area throughout the roman inn era, the first Christians must have really ascribed meaning to it.

“If, in spite of all obstacles, they maintained call with a website there, that must have been of too much importance come them,” he composed in “Keys to Jerusalem” (Oxford university Press; 2012). “This means that veneration the the site must be pushed ago into the very first century and also prior to the loss of Jerusalem.”

Tomb that David

Tomb the King David below the upper Room. Picture BY LITO ZULUETA

The dig of David in Old Jerusalem is baffling considering the Old Testament, states David, was hidden in the City that David (1 kings 2:10), which, follow to Fr. Murphy O’Connor, “is identified with the city of the Jebusites top top the Ophel Ridge (2 Samuel 6:5-9).” In fact early 20th century excavations in Ophel revealed imperial tombs, “which have not been controverted,” the so late biblical scholar native the prestigious Ecole Biblique et Archeologique in Jerusalem wrote.

So what’s the “tomb” top top Mt. Zion?

Fr. Murphy O’Connor cited fourth- and fifth-century lectionaries (divine office readings) mirroring that there was a memorial company for David and also James, “the brother” or cousin that Jesus.King David and the Apostle James the less are taken into consideration founders of the old and new Jerusalem, respectively. Saint James was taken into consideration the founder the the new Jerusalem because he was its very first bishop.

“The liturgical memorial ultimately gave increase to physics memorials, specific tombs, the of James in the Armenian cathedral and David in the Cenacle,” wrote Fr. Murphy O’Connor.

Christians are permitted to visit the tomb of David. Over there are separate pathways for males and also females. Males even if they’re no Jews need to wear the kippah or yarmulke (Jewish brimless cap) as soon as viewing the tomb.


Most archeologists and historians agree the the upper Room was developed during the campaigns in the center Ages. “Its features are so specifically Lusignan Gothic that it have the right to only have been constructed by craftsmen from Cyprus recruited by the Franciscans once they changed as guardians that the holy Land in 1331,” Fr. Murphy O’Connor wrote. The structures roughly the upper Room are, in fact, remnants that the Franciscan medieval friary.

Gothic detail at the top Room. Picture BY LITO ZULUETA

Among the Crusade-era gothic architectural information would be the slender marble column supporting a rock canopy in the southwest corner. Sculpted into the capital at the optimal of the shaft are pelicans feeding ~ above the blood drawn by their mommy from she breast, symbolizing Christ offering up His blood to redeem humanity.

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The Cenacle and Upper Room was the very first Holy Land site to be obtained by the Franciscans. In 1342 Pope Clement VI through the papal bulls “Gratiam Agimus” and “Nuper Charissimae” called the young of Saint Francis the Assisi official custodians of Christian website in the divine Land. End the centuries, the Franciscans in the divine Land were persecuted and also evicted from their buildings there. Many of the friars to be martyred, endorsing v their blood the fact that the top Room and Cenacle was indeed the birthplace the Christianity.

As Fr. Murphy O’Connor wrote, “Through good times and bad the little church the God was cherished together the very first assembly place of the church in Jerusalem.” INQ