Saint Peter's Church in Gallicantu

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu is a Roman Catholic church located on the eastern slope of Mount Zion, just outside the Old (walled) City of Jerusalem. The location is believed to be the site of Caiaphas' house, where according to Bible, Isa As (Jesus) was brought after being arrested. The church takes its name from the Latin word "Gallicantu", meaning cock's-crow. This is in commemoration of Peter's triple rejection of Jesus "... before the cock crows twice." (Mark 14:30)

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Today a golden rooster protrudes prominently from the sanctuary roof in honor of its biblical connection. This spot is also believed to be the location of the High Priest Caiaphas' palace. The church belongs to the Assumptionist Fathers, a French order established in 1887 and named for Mary's Assumption into heaven. The Order has its headquarters in Jerusalem's monumental Hostelry of Our Lady of France, (Notre Dame de France), built in 1889.

Notable Archaeological Remains

circa 1931 CE

Prison of Christ
Since tradition places the palace of Caiaphas on this site, many believe that Jesus may have been imprisoned in one of these underground crypts after his arrest, however, these caves were normal in many Roman-era homes, and often served as cellars, water cisterns, and baths.

circa 500 CE

Byzantine Mosaics
One of Byzantine mozaics at the church entrance, depicting Gaya (the earth goddess) surrounded by various (8) birds. Damaged by 8th century CE Iconociasts, the mozaic was rediscovered in 1992 and restored by Israel Antiquities Authority. It may have belonged to Byzantine shrine dedicated to Peter's repentance was erected on this spot in 457 CE, but was destroyed by the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah in 1010. The chapel was rebuilt by Crusaders in 1102 and given its present name.

circa 500 CE

First Century CE Stairway
On the north side of the church is an ancient staircase that leads down towards the Kidron Valley. This may have been a passage from the upper city to the lower city during the first temple period. Many Christians believe that Jesus followed this path down to Gethsemane the night of his arrest.

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