Pater Noster Convent


Pater Noster Convent

The church built here in the 4th century AD by Constantine the Great became known as the Eleona (olive), and was associated back then with the ascension of Jesus to heaven. By the Middle Ages, tradition had firmly settled on a small grotto—the focal point of the site—as the place where Jesus taught his disciples the Lord's Prayer: "Our Father [Pater Noster]. ..." (Matthew 6). The land was purchased by the Princesse de la Tour d'Auvergne of France in 1868, and the Carmelite convent stands on the site of the earlier Byzantine and Crusader structures. An ambitious basilica, begun in the 1920s, was designed to follow the lines of the 4th-century church, but was never completed: its aisles, open to the sky, are now lined with pine trees. The real attractions of the site, however, are the many large ceramic plaques adorning the cloister walls and the small church, with the Lord's Prayer in more than 100 different languages. (Look for the high wall, metal door, and French flag on a bend 200 yards before the Mount of Olives Observation Point.)


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