The Chapel of Ascension

An image of the Chapel of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives in the Holy city of Jerusalem Located at the highest point in Jerusalem, next to the main entrance of the Mount of Olives Hotel, is the Chapel of Ascension. Erected by Queen Helena as part of a vast Church and Monastery complex (Eleona Basilica or Basilica of Olives) in the year 392 AD, this Chapel (or Mosque) marks the site where Jesus acsended into heaven. Since the time of it's construction, the octogonal shrine has undergone many facelifts. Destroyed by the Persions in the year 614 AD, the Church was eventually reconstructed to it's present day dimensions by the Crusaders. The site was ultimately acquired by two emmissaries of Saladin in the year 1198 and has remained in the possession of the Islamic Waqf of Jerusalem ever since. The Crusader building was converted to a mosque but was never used by Muslims since the overwhelming majority of visitors were Christian. As a gesture of compromise and goodwill, Saladin ordered the construction of a second mosque and mihrab two years later next door to the Chapel for Muslim worship while Christians continued to visit the main Chapel. In the center of the main dome is a stone bearing the worn footprint of Christ as he made his miraculous ascent to heaven. During the Byzantine period, pilgrims were allowed to walk off with pieces of the stone. In the nearly two millenium since the acsension, countless visitors have inflicted a heavy toll on the poor old footprint.

Today, one can still hear passages from the Bible recited in many languages as countless tour groups commemorate the last spot on earth the Lord stood and the site where it is believed he will return.

Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven (Acts 7-11)

He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
After he said this, he was taken up before their eyes, and a cloud hid him from their site. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

Sketches by Shirley Reed from the 3rd Floor
Chapel of the Ascension 1 24 kb 251 kb
Chapel of the Ascension 2 75 kb 242 kb
Other Resources:
Sacred Destinations Travel Guide
Ascension - Catholic Encyclopedia

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