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The Cenacle (Upper Room)
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it." They said to him, "Where will you have us prepare it?" He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house which he enters, and tell the householder, `The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?'  And he will show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready." And they went, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover. - Luke 22:7-13
The Cenacle
Since at least the early 4th century AD, a site on Mout Zion, known as The Cenacle, which means "dining room", was a popular place of pilgrimage for the early Christians. It is believed to be the site where Jesus celebrated the last supper with his disciples. The New Testament records that after Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles gathered in the "Upper Room" to pray together (Acts 1:13). The culmination of their 9 day vigil was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. 

The original building which housed the upper room became a center for the first century Jewish Christians, and was described as a Judeo-Christian synagogue. It was spared during the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It became known as the Church of the Apostles. In 382 AD the Roman emperor Theodosius I built an octagonal church, called the Hagia Zion, on the site. The church was destroyed in 614 AD when Persia invaded Jerusalem. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times during the Muslim occupation of Jerusalem which began in 637. The structure which stands today was rebuilt by the Crusaders in the 12th century. Portions of the original first century walls of the Judeo- Christian synagogue (see floor plan diagram below) can still be seen today.

Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples
In Jesus' time, every male Jew, who was of age and lived within 15 miles of Jerusalem, was bound to celebrate Passover every year in Jerusalem.  This annual feast commemorated the deliverance of the people of Israel from their slavery in Egypt (see Exodus 12).  On that night the angel of death slew the first-born of the Egyptians; but he "passed over" the homes of the Israelites, because the lintel of their doors was smeared with the blood of an unblemished lamb sacrificed for the occasion. 

Jesus chose the time of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at Capernaum Ė giving his disciples his body and his blood (John 6:51-58).  This is the most significant meal of Jesus and the most important occasion of his breaking of bread.  In this meal Jesus identifies the bread as his body and the cup as his blood. Christians have understood Jesusí passing over to his Heavenly Father by his death and resurrection as the new Passover, which is anticipated in the Last Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist or Lord's Supper, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the church in the glory of Godís kingdom.


upper room rebuilt by the Crusaders in the 12th century


painting depicting Mary Magdalene running to the Cenacle on Easter Sunday morning to tell the sleeping apostles that she had just seen the Risen Lord


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