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Dominus Flevit

The Dominus Flevit Church is located in Jerusalem, Israel on the western slope of the Mount of Olives opposite the Old City. The name means “the cry of the Lord” as this marks the spot where Jesus looked down on Jerusalem’s temple and wept for its beauty and the destruction he foresaw. He also foresaw the scattering of the Jews to the four corners of the earth.

Luke 19:41:

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.”

Although the present structure is a relatively modern one having been completed in 1955 many layers of history have been uncovered over the years revealing several ancient sites on this same spot. Found at this location were a Canaanite bronze tomb; tombs from the 2nd Temple period; a Roman necropolis; remains of a mosaic from a Byzantine monastery; a Crusader chapel and a Turkish mosque. The burial tombs and ossuary boxes found in caves on this site means that this was once also a necropolis – an ancient burial ground.

Today it is a Roman Catholic Church under the auspices of the Franciscan church who also commissioned the building of the church.  The church was built in the shape of a tear drop to remind us that Jesus wept here. The designer of the church was Antonio Barluzzi who also designed the Basilica of the Agony; Church of Visitation; Church of Flagellation and the Saint Lazarus Church in Bethany.

The present church has been designed so that, like Jesus, worshipers too can look over the Temple Mount from the church’s western window. Although today we can’t see the temple as it no longer exists we can see where it once stood on Temple Mount. On the Byzantine mosaic which is still visible in the church are various motifs of nature and written in Greek the words of Simon “decorated this place of prayer in honor of Jesus.” This once was part of an altar and shrine. The inner dome of the church is decorated with gold mosaics and the church walls feature scenes in bas-relief. Another mosaic of a hen with her chicks adorns the foot of the altar, referring to the passage in the New Testament: Luke 13:34.

The arched picture window behind the altar and the view through the window are the main features of the church. On the burial boxes (ossuary boxes) which were recovered there are symbols and ornate carvings including engravings in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. Visitors to the church can view the Old City through the picture window, see the ancient Byzantine mosaic and see the remains of the ossuary.

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