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Gethsemane (Greek ΓεΘσημανἰ, Gethsēmani 'Hebrew:גת שמנים, Assyrian ܓܕܣܡܢ, Gat Šmānê, lit. "oil press") is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olivesmarker in Jerusalemmarker most famous as the place where Jesus and his disciples prayed the night before Jesus' 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 the Eastern Orthodox Church tradition, Gethsemane is the garden where the Virgin Mary was buried and was assumed into heaven after her dormition on Mount Sion.


Gethsemane appears in the Greek of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Mark as Γεθσημανἱ (Gethsēmani). The name is derived from the Assyrian ܓܕܣܡܢ (Gaṯ-Šmānê), meaning "oil press". Matthew (26:36)and Mark (14:32) call it χωρἰον (18:1), a place or estate. The Gospel of John says Jesus entered a garden (κῆπος) with his disciples.


While tradition locates Gethsemane on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives, the exact spot remains unknown. According to the New Testament it was a place that Jesus and his disciples customarily visited, which allowed Judas to find him on the night of his arrest. Overlooking the garden is the Church of All Nationsmarker, 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 Magdalenemarker with its golden, onion-shaped domes (Byzantine/Russian style), built by Russian Tsar Alexander III in memory of his mother.

Pilgrimage site

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". Ancient olive trees growing in the garden are said to be 900 years old.

Artistic depictions

Image:Agony in the Garden.jpg|Andrea Mantegna's Agony in the Garden, circa 1460, depicts Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.Image:Germany Ulm Gethsemane.jpg|Detail from Gothic-era depiction of scene at Gethsemane from Ulm MünstermarkerImage:Berruguete-Pedro-Gethsemane.jpg|Gethsemane depicted by Pedro BerrugueteImage:Christ in Gethsemane.jpg|Christ in Gethsemane by Heinrich Hofmann at the Riverside Churchmarker

See also


  1. (King James Version); (
  2. (KJV);
  3. Metzger & Coogan (1993) Oxford Companion to the Bible, p253.
  4. (KJV);
  5. Gethsemane
  6. In the Fullness of Time, Paul Maier


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