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Atlas Obscura Church of the Pater Noster

Sitting atop the Mount of Olives, the Pater Noster Church is one of several buildings in the region that owes its current existence to the Carmelites, but its story extends much further back than this religious order. According to the Bible’s Gospel of Luke, Jesus Christ taught the Lord’s Prayer to his disciples somewhere between Betfage and Jerusalem. Since the Mount of Olives falls between these two cities, believers speculate that the prayer that beings “Our Father” (or “Pater Noster” in Latin) was first shared within one of the mount’s caves.

Today this belief is beautifully represented in the walls of the ancient Pater Noster Church, which is part of the Carmelite monastery. Embedded within the walls are a series of regularly spaced long ceramic tiles. Each includes a colorful border of flowers painted in a charmingly earthy palette, within which the Lord’s Prayer unfolds in a wide variety of elegant scripts.

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