Small Galilee

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will meet at the same three venues as their predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in 1964.  The three venues (in order) are the Apostolic Delegation, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Summer Residence of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in Small Galilee.  Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will also visit additional venues in the Holy Land as part of their separate itineraries.  Below is a description of three venues: The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Little Galilee, and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

By Anna Koulouris, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem

This area overlooking Jerusalem on the top of Mt. Olives, not to be confused with biblical Galilee located in Tiberias, has its name for another reason. Before his crucifixion, Jesus Christ referred to Galilee as his meeting point with his disciples. "Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee and there they will see me' (Matt. 28:10)." The area of Small Galilee, which is on the top of the Mount of Olives, is indeed the place where Christ appeared to his disciples twice after his resurrection.

The peaceful monastery, which overlooks Jerusalem from on high and will host the meeting of the Pope and Ecumenical Patriarch during their Apostolic Pilgrimage, is under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The Greek Orthodox church on the monastery property is dedicated to the Galilean men, which is another reference to the holy apostles.

The area is significant for another reason. It is the place where the Theotokos went to pray after Christ's ascension. It was at this time that she was informed by the Archangel Gabriel that she would "fall asleep" after three days. For this reason, the monastery celebrates its feast day on August 12, which is three days before the Dormition of the Theotokos.



Other Biblical verses:

Luke 21:37: And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet.

Matthew 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"