21 Oct 2012

The Ancient Olive Trees of Gethsemane

Olive Trees at the Garden of Gethsemane October 2011
During our pilgrimage to the Holy Land in October 2011, our last night in Jerusalem finished with a holy hour at the Church of All Nations or the Church of the Agony in the Garden. After the holy hour lead by Fr Frank Duhig had finished, the Custodian opened the gate and on condition that we did not touch anything, allowed us to walk around the garden amongst the olive trees reflecting and meditating on the holy ground upon which we walked.

From Vatican Radio comes  the publication of a study undertaken under the request of the Franciscans who maintain the Custody of the Holy Land on behalf of all Latin rite chrisians of confirmation of the age of these trees:

"The olive trees of Gethsemane are ancient plants that have survived through the centuries. During a press conference held at the offices of Vatican Radio, it was reported that some of the roots of these trees could have survived from the time of Christ, according to a study by a group of experts from the National Research Council. The head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who presented the results of the research, noted that "for every Christian, the olive trees of the Garden of Gethsemane serve as a 'living' reference to the Passion of Christ."

From the Custody of the Holy Land further information about the Olive Trees here and here but also a report of the harvesting of the Olives.

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