Anonymous of Piacenza

Itinerarium Antonini Placentini, 560-570 AD

The account provided by the Anonymous Pilgrim of Piacenza makes no mention of the Byzantine church in Gethsemane, citing only the practice of veneration made at three “couches”, which probably refers to the three rocks venerated in memory of the three prayers of Jesus, which were to remain a cornerstone of devotion at Gethsemane. It is at these rocks that, notwithstanding the various constructions and destruction of the church over time, the memory of Jesus’ prayer at Gethsemane remains firmly fixed.

Descendentes de monte Oliveti in valle Gessemeni in locum, ubi traditus est Dominus, in quo sunt tria accubita, in quibus ille accubuit et nos accubuimus pro benedictione. (2) Et in ipsa valle est basilica sanctae Mariae, quam dicunt domum eius fuisse, in qua et de corpore sublatam fuisse. Ipsa vallis Gessemeni ibidem vocatur Josafa. (3) De Gessemani ascendimus ad portam Hierosolinam per gradus multos. (Caput XVII, 1-3)


“Coming down from Mount Olivet [Mount of Olives] in the valley of Gethsemane, at the place where the Lord was betrayed, there are three accubita (“couches”) on which he reclined, and we also reclined there for benediction. And in that valley is the basilica of St. Mary, which they say was her house in which she was separated from her body. This valley of Gethsemane is also called Josaphat [Jehoshaphat]. From Gethsemane we climbed by many steps up to the gate of Jerusalem.”