There has been a church on this site since the 4th century CE, when Queen Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, organised for one to be built over a cave in which Jesus was thought to have spoken to his disciples. The Crusaders, who believed that the cave was in fact where Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer to the disciples, built a new church in 1152. The current building is a partial reconstruction of the Byzantine church with a 19th-century cloister.
The Byzantine church was known as the Church of the Eleona – from the Greek word elaionas (olive grove) – and the site still incorporates an olive grove. It also has an attached Carmelite convent. When visiting, look out for the tiled panels in the cloister, on which the Lord’s Prayer is inscribed in over 160 languages.
The cave is located in an enclosed courtyard in front of the church, down a few stairs.