Edit: where the Apostles hid for fear of the Jews.
(Jerusalem) On Tuesday, a fire broke out in the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition Abbey next to the Upper Room in Jerusalem. On Monday, Pope Francis had celebrated Holy Mass in the completion of his Holy Land visit in the Upper Room with the Catholic bishops. Even in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, there was another fire following the Pope's visit (see separate report Fire in the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem just below).
According to the press agency EFE witnesses reported that shortly after the Pope left the place and the Franciscans had removed the barriers,” a stranger set a fire between the pews. He built a pyre out of small crosses a pyre, which he lit “ (see image). The fire was noticed immediately and was quickly brought under control.
Group of Radical Jews Cursed Franciscans After Papal Mass
Other witnesses reported, according to EFE that after the papal Mass a group of radical young Jews insulted the Franciscans that they would “desecrate the Jewish holy place with their crosses in which the Cenacle is.” Since 1948, the Jews worship the ground floor beneath the Upper Room as the alleged grave of King David.
A Benedictine monk of the Dormition Abbey said that "the police were notified immediately, which was due to the security arrangements for the Pope's visit to the same place. The fire department was able to tame the flames quickly. "
An Unidentified Man Lit “Pyre" of Crosses
"We do not know who did it. A man was seen. The climate is unpleasant, it was against the Pope's visit protests. We do not know whether there is a connection. It can also be that it was the act of someone deranged,” said the Benedictine.
The Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said according to AFP: "According to initial reports took a man who was not a Jew, took a candle and lit a book in the Dormition Abbey." Rosenfeld added explicitly that someone from “within the Church" could one not be excluded." The Israeli authorities are trying to dispel any suspicion of Jewish authorship.
Is the Dispute Over the Upper Room in the Background?
Witnesses, however, according to EFE, reported that after the concelebrated Mass of Pope Francis in the Upper Room, a group of young ultra-Orthodox Jews, cursed the Franciscans present, accompanied by a rabbi. Even prior to the Pope's visit to the Holy Land, there had been considerable debate in Israel about the Upper Room. The Catholic Church has been trying for years to get the power over the most holy place for Christianity. Opposition was loudest in those parts of the Jewish community for reasons of principle, but also with reference to the alleged David grave under the Cenacle.
For 200 years the Cenacle was in the hands of the Franciscans of the Holy Land. In the 16th century it was taken from them arbitrarily by the Ottomans, because alleged voices claimed that King David lay buried on the ground floor. However, the local stone sarcophagus dates from the Crusader period. In 1948 Israel seized the building on the same grounds and set a synagogue on the ground floor, while the Upper Room was made into a museum.
Catholic Church Hopes to Get back Cenacle
The Christians wish to have the Upper Room where the Last Supper took place, in which Jesus Christ instituted the sacramental priesthood and the offered sacrament of the Eucharist, where he performed the washing of the feet, appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, and in His Ascension on the Pentecost sent down the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. On the ground floor, where the Jews worship is the alleged grave of David, was probably the oldest church in the world. Incised Crosses indicate a Judeo-Christian synagogue and thus is suspected to be the earliest church from the first century AD.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org