Here's Where Jesus Is Said To Have Prayed Before His Crucifixion

One of the most moving passages in the New Testament occurs in Matthew 26. On the night before he was to be crucified, Jesus purportedly went to an isolated place to pray and spend time with his disciples. As Jesus asked God to spare him what he knew would be a prolonged and agonizing death (with the caveat that Jesus submitted to God's will), he was in such anguish that — according to Luke's narrative of the event in Chapter 22 — he sweat blood. And indeed, according to a case report in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, that's a real thing that can happen, and it's called hematohidrosis. Meanwhile, Jesus' disciples were too tired and couldn't be bothered to stay awake and pray with him.

According to the Biblical narrative, the entire event likely happened in a quiet garden or grove on the outskirts of Jerusalem. We're not sure exactly where, but there are a few places that check off the boxes mentioned in the Biblical narrative that may have been the actual site of Jesus' agony.

Jesus prayed at a place called Gethsemane, but we don't know where that is

As Britannica notes, the Biblical narrative says that Jesus prayed at a place called the Garden of Gethsemane. The word "Gethsemane" comes from a Hebrew phrase that means "oil press," suggesting that the garden may have been an olive grove, possibly with an oil press nearby. But that was over 2,000 years ago, and today we don't know where exactly it purportedly took place. However, one possible candidate is a particular olive grove on the western slope of the Mount of Olives. Indeed, Christendom has largely accepted this as the case; in fact, the Church of All Nations (pictured above) is built at the purported site. Another possibility is the nearby Grotto of Agony, which is a naturally occurring cave believed by some Christians to be the site of Jesus' final night, according to See The Holy Land.

Despite the ambiguity about which site is the true site (if either of them is), it seems that Christians have taken to the olive trees that dot the lands around Jerusalem. According to the National Catholic Reporter, since 1681, a group of Franciscans has tended to those trees, some of which are believed to be descendants of the very olive trees that might have surrounded Jesus while he prayed.