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Viri Galilaei

​Greek Orthodox Church on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem

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The little-known Greek Orthodox Church of Viri Galilaei on the Mount of Olives took its name from the first words that “two men dressed in white” said to the disciples as Jesus ascended to heaven: ’Men of Galilee,’ [viri galilaei in Latin] they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way...’(Acts 1:11). 

Acts and Luke 24:50 indicate the Mount of Olives as the place of Jesus’ ascension. Thus, Viri Galilaei joins the nearby Russian Orthodox Church of the Ascension and its neighbor, the Dome of the Ascension, in marking this event on Olivet.

The olive grove surrounding the church, carpeted with wildflowers in spring, is an excellent place to ponder the tradition, steeped both in Luke and Zechariah 14:4, that it is to the Mount of Olives that Jesus will return. 

 

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