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The Historical Works Of Venerable Bede

THE Mount of Olives is five miles distant from Jerusalem, and is equal in height to Mount Sion, but exceeds it in breadth and length; it bears few trees except vines and olive-trees, and is fruitful in wheat and barley, for the nature of that soil is not calculated for bearing things of large or heavy growth, but grass and flowers. On the very top of it, where our Lord ascended into heaven, is a large round church, having about it three vaulted porches. For the inner house could not be vaulted and covered, because of the passage of our Lord’s body; but it has an altar on the east side, covered with a narrow roof. In the midst of it are to be seen the last prints of our Lord’s feet, and the sky appears open above where he ascended; and though the earth is daily carried away by believers, yet still it remains as before, and retains the same impression of the feet. Near this lies a brazen wheel, as high as a man’s neck, having an entrance towards the west, with a great lamp hanging above it on a pulley, and burning night and day. In the western part of the same church are eight windows; and eight lamps, hanging opposite to them by cords, cast their light through the glass as far as Jerusalem; this light is said to strike the hearts of the beholders with a sort of joy and humility. Every year, on the day of the Ascension, when mass is ended, a strong blast of wind is said to come down, and to cast to the ground all that are in the church. The whole of that night lanterns are kept burning there, so that the mountain and the country beneath appear not only lighted up, but actually to be on fire. Of this church, also, I have thought proper to add below a resemblance.

(The drawing is wanting.)

The monument of Lazarus is indicated by a church built on the same spot, and a large monastery in a field at Bethany, in the midst of a large grove of olives. Bethany is fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem. There is also a third church on the same mountain, towards the northern side of Bethany, where our Lord spoke to his disciples, before he suffered, concerning the day of judgment.








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