Jesus cries over the "holy city": Lenten pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Dominus Flevit | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Jesus cries over the "holy city": Lenten pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Dominus Flevit


Jerusalem, Church of Dominus Flevit, 27 February 2013.

In late afternoon on Wednesday, 27 February 2013, the Franciscans’ Lenten pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Dominus Flevit ("the Lord cries") took place. Located on the Mount of Olives, the sanctuary, built in the shape of a drop of water, commemorates the tears that Jesus cried over the holy city. It is the Gospel according to Luke (19:41-44) that tells us: "on seeing the city, he cried". This gospel scene took place when Jesus entered Jerusalem acclaimed as the Messiah on the Day of Palms.

Fra Marcello Cichinelli, principal concelebrant of the Mass, shined a light on this gospel passage. After the fact, it can be read as an announcement of the destruction of Jerusalem, particularly the Temple, by the Romans. Jesus did, in fact, say: "[your enemies] will not leave in you stone resting upon stone, because you did not recognize the time when you were visited!" But in this text, we can also recognize Jerusalem as the church. Then the text becomes an appeal to conversion addressed to Christians. This is the sense of this Lenten pilgrimage: "a spiritual exercise of preparation for Easter," says Fra Marcello.

Built by Antonio Barluzzi in 1955 over the remains of a Byzantine sanctuary, of which the mosaics (seventh century) remain, the Chapel includes a window behind the altar, such that people assisting at the Mass can get an idea of what Jesus saw when he cried, even if the city has changed since.

The Lenten liturgy calls for celebration of a sung Solemn Mass in the church of Dominus Flevit, preceded by Vespers. This year, because of current events, prayers for the pope and for the conclave were said.

The Franciscans' Lenten pilgrimages take place every week, making a stop in different sanctuaries. Next week it will be Gethsemane.