Jerusalem

The Last Supper

He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there. (Mark 14:15)

 Admission:

Free Entrance
Saturday-Thursday, 8am to 5pm and Friday, 8am to 1pm

Description:

John Baptist Church

The Room of the Last Supper is a two story room commemorating the second story room in which Jesus Christ and his disciples ate their Passover meal before Christ’s crucifixion. This joint Passover among followers would later be called the “Last Supper.” It is located near the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion, and sits directly above the Tomb of David.

You can reach the Room of the Last Supper through a pointed archway on the main road from Mount Zion.  There is a courtyard that used to be a Crusader hospice, then Ottoman house and is now a Jewish yeshiva. Ascending the stairs to the left of this courtyard will bring you to the Room of the Last Supper.

The Room of the Last Supper is a sparsely furnished rectangular room with a groin vaulted ceiling and pillars. The tops of the pillars are made in the 12th century Gothic style. There are remnants of 14th century paint by the door. There used to be an altar on the east side of the room, but when they added a dome to the Tomb of David, it was destroyed.

Because it used to be a mosque, there are still stained glass windows with Arabic inscriptions and a decorated mihrab (a traditional Muslim alcove indicating the direction of Mecca ). The other Muslim remnants are two Arabic plaques on the wall and a Levantine dome.

Stairs on the southwest corner of the Room of the Last Supper lead to the Tomb of David, though entrance is not permitted on that end. There is a dome above the stair case supported by marble columns. On the columns there are inscriptions of pelicans pecking their parents’ chest. This is a Christian sign for sacrifice and charity in religious artwork. The Room of the Last Supper also has another staircase leading to the roof. From there, the visitor can get a breathtaking view of the Mount of Olives.

History:

There was once a Byzantine church where the modern Room of the Last Supper now stands. During the Persian attack in 614, the church was burned. It was also destroyed again in 965. It was in ruins when the Crusaders arrived in 1099. The Room of the Last Supper was originally part of the Church of Saint Mary of Zion, built by the Crusaders in the 12th century. This church was glorious, but fell into disrepair when the Crusaders were defeated in the 13th century. The Franciscans then renovated the church in the 14th century and used it as a monastery until 1552.

The Room of the Last Supper itself (just the room, not the surrounding Franciscan monastery/church), was then used as a mosque. The Muslims were not concerned over the location of the Last Supper but were quite reverent about the place of the Tomb of David. When Israel became its own country in 1948, the Room of the Last Supper became property of Israel. A peaceful agreement regarding a joint ownership of the Room of the Last Supper was reached between Israel and the Vatican in 1993.

 

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