Church of All Nations
Also Known as the Church of Agony

The Church of All nations stands majestically in the Kidron Valley on the slopes of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and next to the garden of Gethsemane.

It is also known as the Church of Agony and run by the Franciscans.It was funded by a dozen countries. This is the reason it is called like that. It was built on the grounds where a Byzantine Basilica of the 4th Century once existed.

This basilica was later rebuilt by the Crusaders but destroyed by an earthquake in the 8th century and forgotten.

Church of All Nations, the Church of Mary Magdalene, Mount of Olives

Building of the Church

When building of the new church started in 1920 the remains of that basilica were found and the work had to be stopped until everything was unearthed. The plans were changed and construction continued until its consecration in 1924.

It was built by Architect Antonio Barluzzi, the designer of nearby Dominus Flevit Church. The front of the church features a mosaic depicting Jesus as the link between God and Humanity, supported by pillars.

That façade was designed by Julio Bargellini. Together the façade the domed roof and the columns give the church architecturally a Byzantine look. It was built with two different kinds of stones.

The interior is built of Jerusalem stone brought from the northwest of the city and the interior with pink stone brought from Bethlehem.

The interior is covered by violet colored glass creating a sad mood of depression evoking the mood of Christ’s agony. The ceiling is painted in dark blue simulating a dark night sky.

On the front of the chalice shaped altar is a crown of hammered steel thorns encircling a piece of rock where Jesus is believed to have knelt in prayer. The mosaic over the altar represents “Christ in Agony”, those in the lateral apses are titled “The Kiss of Judas” and “Christ’s Arrest”.

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Impressive façade of the Church of All Nations by Julio Bargellini

Contribution of many Nations

Symbols of the countries that contributed to the construction of the church are blend into the 12 cupolas in the ceiling.

The cupolas rest on one piece Corinthian columns and the aisles of the church end into three apses decorated with Christian images commemorating the events in the garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus prayed in agony after his betrayal.

The countries that contributed to the building of the church are: Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Mexico in Latin America; Italy, France, Spain, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Hungary and Poland in Europe; Also the United States, Canada and Australia.

There is an open altar in the gardens of the church which is used by many Christian denominations including but not limited to: Anglican, Lutheran, Evangelical, Armenian, Protestant, Apostolic, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic.

The interior of the Church of All Nations is awe inspiring

Hours of operation :

  • Monday to Saturday 8:00 am to noon and 2:00 to 5:30 pm


  • Daily: 6:30 am in Italian - 4:00 pm in Latin and Italian
  • Sundays: An extra service at 11:00 am in English

A visit to the Church of All Nations is a real spiritual experience.

Image Credits:
church by poco a poco
descriptions by yoav dothan
churches by gilabrand
interior by wknight

All courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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