Friday, April 18, 2014

The House of Caiaphas- Church of St.Peter-Gallicantu

A modern church, built in 1931,
 preserves the Catholic tradition
 of the location of the house of Caiaphas,
 the Jewish High Priest.
Gallicantu means "cock crowing" in Latin.

Jesus tells the group about the upcoming denial
 of Him at their last supper together.

Peter's denial of being a follower of Jesus
 strikes all of us in the heart
 with daily "denials" of being disciples.

Beneath this modern church
 are a series of chambers
 are cut into the rock from
 the Second Temple period,
 under the Church of St. Peter- Gallicantu. 
According to tradition this is the site of the
 Palace of Caiaphas
 where Jesus was brought after his arrest. 

It is believed that Jesus would have been
 in a pit like this one-
 as an underground crypt awaiting his trials.
It is difficult to know positively-
 as underground caves were found
in many of the Roman-era houses.

In this Sacred Pit-
 we spent some time of reflection.
 And listened to the reading of Psalm 88.

The Byzantine Christians considered this
 to be the location where Jesus was bound
 by Caiaphas prior to sentencing
 before Pilate at Antonia Fortress.
They built a shrine here in the Fifth century, 
which the Muslims destroyed in 1010 AD.
The Crusaders rebuilt the chapel here a century later.
It fell into ruins again in 1320
 and was not rebuilt until the 1931 building.

On the grounds of the church are many
 ancient buildings from the different periods
 of Jerusalem's history.

Perhaps one of the most significant excavations
 are these rock steps which led from the
 Upper City to the Lower City in Jerusalem.

This stone trail dates back to the Second Temple era,
 possibly even to Solomon's original temple,
 and leads down to the Kidron valley. 
Perhaps Jesus had followed this path
 on his way to Gethsemane 
on the night of his arrest.
If not that evening,
 he would have used this staircase
 in his travels around ancient Jerusalem.
Read More…...
Possibly the most moving part of this space
 is the dramatic 
images of what was happening
 outside the house of Caiaphas
 with Peter's denial and inside the house
 with the mocking and abuse of Jesus inside.
As Jesus carries the weight of each of our denials,
we are reminded of the sins
 he took to the cross for each of us.
His gaze upon Peter sealed the forgiveness,
though Peter's heart broke.
It is the same Savior's gaze upon me, 
that offers restored hope.

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