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Prayer at the Church of All Nations in Jerusalem during your Christian Holy Land Tour of Israel

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The Church of All Nations also known as the Basilica of the Agony for its official name is a Roman Catholic Church which will be visited during our Holy Land trip located on the Mount of Olives, next to the Garden of Gethsemane. The church enshrines a section of bedrock where is said Jesus prayed before his arrest (Mark 14:32-42). 

From the bible we read; Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:36-39.

The Basilica of Agony which stands today was built from 1919-24 with funding from 12 different nations, thus the name “the Church of All Nations.” The church has a rich history including being built on the foundation of two ancient churches including a 4th century Byzantine basilica which was destroyed by en earthquake in 746, and atop a 12th-century chapel built by the Crusaders, and later abandoned in 1345.

The Basilica is run by the Franciscan order, but an open altar located in the gardens of the church is used by many Christian denominations including followers who are Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Protestant, Lutheran, Evangelical, Anglican, and any other version of Christianity or Orthodoxy that is culturally unique to any particular nation.

One of the interesting features of the church are the respective coat-of-arms of each donating country incorporated into the glass of the ceiling, each in a small dome. The countries honored in its contributions are; starting from the left side, beginning with the apse: Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico; in the middle of the Basilica you will see: Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom, and to the right: Belgium, Canada, Germany, and the United States. The mosaics in the apses were donated by Ireland, Hungary, and Poland. The crown around the bedrock was a gift of Australia.

The facade of the Basilica is supported by a row of large columns set below a stunning-modern mosaic depicting Jesus as mediator-connection between God and man. The designer of the facade mosaic and the architect of the church was Professor Giulio Bargellini. The Basilica's three aisles culminate in 3 apses at the east end, which are decorated with mosaics depicting biblical events in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the center, the high altar overlooks a large slab of rock, which is said to be the very rock on which Jesus prayed in agony on the night of his betrayal by Judas. The Church of All Nations is a powerful and important place to visit during your Christian Holy Land tour, and one of great interest from all Christian denominations during Christian pilgrimages to Israel.

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