The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

By Bede | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII.
OF THE PLACE OF OUR LORD'S ASCENSION, AND THE TOMBS OF
THE PATRIARCHS.

Concerning the place of our Lord's ascension, the aforesaid author writes thus. Mount Olivet is equal in height to Mount Sion, but exceeds it in breadth and length; bearing few trees besides vines and olive trees, and is fruitful in wheat and barley, for the nature of that soil is not calculated for bearing things of large or heavy growth, but grass and flowers. On the very top of it, where our Lord ascended into heaven, is a large round church, having about it three vaulted porches. For the inner house could not be vaulted and covered, because of the passage of our Lord's body; but it has an altar on the east side, covered with a narrow roof. In the midst of it are to be seen the last prints of our Lord's feet, the sky appearing open above where he ascended; and though the earth is daily carried away by believers, yet still it remains as before, and retains the same impression of the feet. Near this lies an iron wheel, as high as a man's neck, having an entrance towards the west, with a great lamp hanging above it on a pulley, and burning night and day. In the western part of the same church are eight windows, and eight lamps, hanging opposite to them by cords, cast their light through the glass as far as Jerusalem; this light is said to strike the hearts of the beholders with a sort of joy and humility. Every year, on the day of the Ascension, when mass is ended, a strong blast of wind is said to come down, and to cast to the ground all that are in the church. Concerning the situation of Hebron, and the tombs of the fathers, he writes thus. Hebron, once the city and metropolis of David's kingdom, now only showing what it was by its ruins, has, one furlong to the cast of it, a double cave in the

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