The Church at Gallicantu


I think most of our group would agree that we especially felt the sufferings of Jesus at the Church of Gallicantu, which is smack dab in the middle of this photo taken from the Mt. of Olives.  Gallicantu is Latin for something like “when the rooster crowed.”  It is to the south of the Temple Mount (or left of the mount from the Mt. of Olives).  It is up the hill from the city of David, just a little down the hill from the upper room.



This location is too far down the hill to be the house of Caiaphas, since some of the homes of wealthy priestly families (presumably) have been excavated higher up the hill.  However, the Gospel of John says Jesus appeared before Annas the night before and Caiaphas in the morning.  Many scholars believe this sequence of events is more plausible than a full meeting of the Sanhedrin in the middle of the night.


Accordingly, Wilbur wonders if this location may have been Annas’ house.  Well, it’s all very difficult to say for certain on these things.


In any case, there is a dungeon-esk place under this church.  Now mind you, it has undergone some expansion since the time of Christ.  I hate to say that the most striking feature of the location probably doesn’t go back to the time of Christ.  This is what may very well have been only an entryway into the prison at the time of Christ.  But it was later deepened and a hole placed in the top.


Here is the top of the “pit” as it now looks:



It was most striking to think of Jesus being lowered down this hole into the pit, with guards watching from above from this window:



But in fact the chamber wasn’t that deep in Jesus’ day and the window you see here was simply the entrance to the prison from the then entrance to this space here:



The real prison at the time of Jesus, and perhaps the place where Jesus spent the night after he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, was through these openings, to the right through the opening in the previous picture, and to the following chamber where prison type implements were found in the wall:



Outside this church are steps that Wilbur believes Jesus certainly was led up that night, regardless of whether this was the prison or Annas’ house.