Thursday, July 9, 2015

Church of the Pater Noster

Church of the Pater Noster - Central Exterior Staircase
Near the summit of the Mount of Olives there is a partially constructed Roman Catholic Church called the Church of the Pater Noster. The current structure was built atop of the ruins of a fourth century basilica constructed under the direction of Constantine the Great's mother Helena. "Pater noster" is Latin for "our father" and is the traditional location of the "certain place" mentioned in Luke 11:1 where Jesus taught his disciples the Lord's Prayer. It is also the traditional site where Jesus taught his great eschatological sermon found in Matthew 24  (see also Joseph Smith Matthew).

In volume 1, book 2 (of the 3 volume edition), page 274 (excursus 53) of Jeff Bradshaw's commentary on the book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, entitled In God's Image and Likeness: Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Book of Moses, there is a brief discussion of this site which provides some very exciting insights:

Grotto of the Church of the Pater Noster
"According to Eusebius, the Roman Emperor Constantine's mother Helena founded churches at the spot of three 'mystic caves' associated with the life of the Savior. One was located in Bethlehem at the supposed site of Jesus' birth, one in Jerusalem where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher now stands, and a third on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

"Englebert argues that the site on the Mount of Olives is 'the most easily shown to be authentic.' He depicts the spot as a safe resort for the Savior during times of persecution, there being 'no other place in Jerusalem where He could "lay his head." After telling of a stormy scene that took place in the Temple, St. John writes: "And they went each to his home, and Jesus to the Mount of Olives" [John 7:53 - 8:1. See also Luke 21:37, 22:39]. It would appear that, for Jesus, "going home" meant returning to his grotto, and that it was here that the Pharisee Nicodemus came for the nocturnal meeting he had requested.' ... Early traditions record that Jesus found a place 'where he could teach His disciples those things that were beyond the understanding of His usual hearers.' More specifically, Eusebius passed on a 'true report ... that in that cave the Savior of the Universe initiated the members of his guild in the ineffable mysteries.' An instance of such an initiation may have occurred on the night Jesus was arrested, before going down to Gethsemane. According to the Acts of John, these instructions were concluded with a prayer in which 'he told us to form a circle, holding one another's hands, and himself stood in the middle.' Initiation into the 'ineffable mysteries' was also a prominent theme in accounts of the teachings of Jesus Christ to his apostles during the forty days following his resurrection."

No comments:

Post a Comment