Holy Thursday: Holy Hour in the Basilica of Agony, Gethsemane – Jerusalem

Background: The Holy Hour in the Basilica of Agony commemorates the day before the crucifixion, when Christ wept in agony in Gethsemane, was betrayed by Judas, and subsequently arrested by the Romans. The Basilica of Agony (1), also known as the Church of All Nations, houses the bedrock where Christ traditionally prayed before his arrest (4).

Impressions: The gates to the church were open around 9pm but at there were already hundreds of people crowded around at 8pm. We stood near the front and were able to quickly move in first so we could rush to get good seats to see the mass. Then I learned that there are no such thing as good seats. Even the seats in the front row were blocked by the people who couldn’t get seats and opted to stand (in front of everyone). But they in turn were blocked by the press who set up massive tripods and cameras in front. But the mass itself was especially interesting. It was in multiple languages (English, German, French, Spanish), but mostly in Arabic and Latin. We learned that masses are usually sung, and in this case the priests would sing the scriptures, and even sang one in Arabic. The mass was calmer and sad, but pretty at the same time. When it finished everyone rushed out to find it pouring rain. Looks like someone else was weeping.

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~ by jonathanmtsai on April 27, 2011.

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