Gethsemane (Greek ΓεσΘημανι, Gesthēmani 'Hebrew:גת שמנים, from Aramaic גת שמנא, Gat Šmānê, lit. "oil press") is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem believed to be the place where Jesus and his disciples prayed the night before the crucifixion. According to Luke , Jesus' anguish in Gethsemane was so deep that "his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." According to Orthodox tradition, Gethsemane is the garden where the Apostles buried the Virgin Mary.
appears in the Greek
of the Gospels
) as Γεθσημανι (Gethsēmani). The name is derived from the Aramaic
גת שמנא (Gaṯ-Šmānê), meaning "oil press". The Gospel of Mark
calls it chorion
, "a place" or "estate"; The Gospel of John
speaks of it as kepos
, a "garden" or "orchard."
The garden identified as Gethsemane is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives
, in the Kidron Valley
. Overlooking the garden is the Church of All Nations
, also known as the Church of the Agony, built on the site of a church destroyed by the Sassanids
in 614, and a Crusader church destroyed in 1219. Nearby is the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalene
with its golden, onion-shaped domes
(Byzantine/Russian style), built by Russian Tsar Alexander III
in memory of his mother.
The Garden of Gethsemane was a focal site for early Christian pilgrims
. It was visited in 333 by the anonymous "Pilgrim of Bordeaux", whose Itinerarium Burdigalense
is the earliest description left by a Christian traveler in the Holy Land. In his Onomasticon, Eusebius of Caesarea
notes the site of Gethsemane located "at the foot of the Mount of Olives", and he adds that "the faithful were accustomed to go there to pray".