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The Historical Works Of Venerable Bede

Now all these Holy Places, which we have mentioned, are situated beyond Mount Sion, to which the elevated ground extends as it falls away towards the north. But in the lower part of the city, where there was a temple built in the neighbourhood of the wall, on the eastern side, and joined to the city itself by a bridge which formed a thoroughfare between, the Saracens have now erected there a square building, with upright planks and large beams placed, in the roughest manner, over some ruins of the walls, and they frequent the place for prayer. There is room for three thousand persons. There are a few cisterns there to supply water. In the neighbourhood of the temple is the pool of Bethsaida, marked by its two basins, one of which is generally filled by the rains of winter, the other is discoloured with red water. On that front of Mount Sion, which has a rugged precipice facing the east, the fountain of Siloa bursts forth between the walls at the bottom of the hill. According as it receives an increase of water from time to time, it flows towards the south; therefore, its waters are not sweet, but the day and hour of its springing up are uncertain, and it rushes with much noise amid the hollows in the ground and the hard rocks. On the level summit of Mount Sion are numerous cells of monks surrounding a large church, built there, as they say, by the Apostles, because they received the Holy Spirit in that place, and Saint Maria died there. The place of our Lord’s holy supper is shown within; and a marble pillar stands in the middle of the church, to which our Lord was tied when he was scourged. The figure of the church is said to have been something like this:—

(The drawing is wanting in the Manuscripts.)

Here is also shown, on the outside of the city, the rock on which the first martyr, Stephen, was stoned: but in the middle of Jerusalem, where the dead man came to life when our Lord’s cross was placed above him, stands a lofty pillar, which at the summer solstice does not throw a shadow, wherefore it is thought that the centre of the earth is in this place; and it has been said in history, “God, ages ago, hath wrought our salvation in the middle of the earth.” According to which opinion Victorinus, Bishop of the church of Pictavia, writing of Golgotha, hath these words:—

“Est locus, ex omni medium quem credimus orbe,

Golgotha Judæi patrio cognomine dicunt.”

“In the Earth’s centre, ’tis believed the place

By Jews called Golgotha, we seek to trace.”








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