I. Holy Site
In 326, shortly after arriving in the Holy Land, Constantines's mother,
St. Helena, began building on the Mount of Olives the Basilica of the Eleona -
from elaion in Greek, meaning olive grove. The Basilica was also referred to
as the Church of the Disiples, over the Grotto associated with the teachings
of Jesus on the last days, or the Eschatological Teachings.
Destroyed by the Persians in 614, the Basilica was re-built, possibly by Modestus,
but then later destroyed by Hakim in 1009. Despite the successive destructions,
the memory of Jesus' teachings remained. In time, however, there was a significant
shift in its content which began to insist especially on Jesus' teachings of
the "Our Father" to His desciples. This was the overriding tradition when
the Crusaders constructed an Oratory on the Site, The Church of the Pater Noster,
which later fell into ruin after their departure.
The Princess of La Tour d'Auvergne
In 1856, The Princess of La Tour d'Auvergne, born in France of Italian
parents (Aurelie de Bossi, 1809-1889), bought the site and built the present
Church next to the ancient Grotto. To share her devotion for the Lord's Prayer
she had 62 ceramic plaques in different languages placed in the outer cloister.
There are now 130 plaques in as many languages. Today, the site is a "must"
on the itinerary of Christian pilgrims of many persuasions, both Catholic and