Best known as the garden adjacent to the Church of All Nations and not too far from the Church of Mary Magdalene, wherein Jesus and his disciples came to pray after the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane is historically linked to both prayer and betrayal. Indeed, the garden was chosen by Jesus as his last place of prayer during his final hours, and was tragically chosen by Judas Iscariot as the place to betray Jesus and turn him over to the Romans.
The Garden of Gethsemane is mentioned at least twice in the gospels; once in the Gospel of Matthew where it is said: "and they came to a place which was named Gethsemane and he saith to his disciples, sit ye here while I shall pray", and once more in the Gospel of Luke where it is written: “Jesus' anguish at Gethsemane was so deep that his sweat was as great drops of blood falling down to the ground”.
Taking after Jesus' deeds, thousands of believers flock to the Garden of Gethsemane annually
The Garden of Gethsemane - The Garden of Olives
Believed to have been an olive garden in Biblical times too, the present day Garden of Gethsemane gets its name from the Hebrew Gat Shemen, meaning an olive press. As its namesake indicates, the garden is lush with ancient olive trees creating a shaded Mediterranean-style forest that is perfect for those in search of a little seclusion and isolation.
It is commonly held by archeologists and botanists who have studied the garden's olive trees that these are the original Biblical trees described in the Gospel of Matthew. While there has been some controversy to this effect, it is a known fact that olive trees can grow to be tens of thousands of years old, a fact which determines their Biblical ancestry possible.
The Garden of Gethsemane - Mary's Tomb
While the Garden of Gethsemane is most conspicuously known for its relation to the life of Jesus and serves as a symbol of his unyielding faith, certain denominations within the Christian faith also hold that the garden carries great importance in the life of Mary.
Indeed, according to Eastern Orthodox teachings, the Garden of Gethsemane is not only the place of Jesus' final prayer if not also the place wherein the Virgin Mary fell to her death—the site of the Dormition.
When on a Bible tour to Israel and visiting the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations, be sure not to miss Mary's tomb hidden inside a 12 th century church by the same name.
Once inside the church, don't miss the frescos that line the walls telling the story of Mary's death and her burial by the apostles.