Friday, May 01, 2009

Keys to Upper Room May Be Given to Pope

According to historian Steve Ray, who has produced many great Catholic movies and books, including In the Footsteps of God, the Pope may be given the keys to the upper room, where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper and the first Eucharist.

Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting the Holy Land from May 8 to 15, 2009 (this year). As Catholics, and especially for priests, the site of the Last Supper has ultimate significance. The sacrifice of the Mass, which is celebrated every day around the world had its start in this location. It is where for the first time, we received the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ in the form of bread and wine.

However, sadly, Christians did not have access to this most holy of places for many centuries. At first, the location was a synagogue. Three of its walls still exist from that time. Roman Emperor Theodosius built a basilica next to the synagogue. Several years later in 415, the church that was built there was expanded by John II, Bishop of Jerusalem. This was destroyed by Persian invaders in year 614, but was soon rebuilt. In 1004, Muslim marauders destroyed the basilica that was there. Soon it was rebuilt by Crusaders. In 1219, the Muslims came back and destroyed the basilica once again! But the history is not yet complete. From 1333 to 1552, the basilica was rebuilt with large naves and was cared for by Franciscan monks, but of course, in 1552, Muslims once again took over. At least this time they didn't destroy the basilica that was there. But they didn't allow any Christians to worship at this most holy place. It was only in 1948, with the advent of the state of Israel, that Christians were permitted to return to this holy site.

As we know, good always triumphs over evil, sooner or later, and that's what would make it such a spectacular event for Israel to give Pope Benedict the keys to the Upper Room. Of course, this remains speculative, but we'll find out when he visits this area later this month.


  1. Theodosius?? not even close to Theodoric...

  2. All along, a "ruler of the people" was needed to keep those muslims under control! Theodoric, where were you?!?