Libellus de locis sanctis (1172 AD)

The Rhenish pilgrim Theoderich witnessed the intense construction activity of the Crusaders in the Holy Land. Like John of Würzburg, he diligently recorded the inscriptions he came across in the places he visited.

His careful description of the location within the Crusader church of the three rocks of the prayer has been largely confirmed by the results of archaeological excavations which have shown that, in addition to the rock in the central apse, rocks in the side apses had been left exposed by the Crusaders and used as foundations for the walls.


Progresso deinde versus montem Oliveti ad meridiem non modica tibi occurrit ecclesia, Gethsemane nuncupata, ubi salvator, cum discipulis suis ab horto veniens, intravit et ad eos dixit: Sedete hic, donec vadam illuc et orem. Ingressus itaque in eam statim invenies altare venerandum, et ad sinistram in subterraneum specum ingrediens quatuor loca invenies denotata, in quibus singulis terni apostoli cubantes obdormierunt. Est etiam ad sinistram saxum grande in ipsius specus angulo, in quod ipse Christus digitos imprimens sex in eo fecit foramina. (Caput XXIV)


“As you journey from there southward toward the Mount of Olives you encounter a church of no small size, called Gethsemane, which our Savior, coming from the garden with his disciples, entered and said to them: ‘Sit here while I go forth and pray’. So as soon as you enter it you find a holy altar, and entering in the underground cave to the left you will find four places marked, in each of which three of the Apostles lay down and fell asleep. To the left there is an enormous rock in the corner of the cave, in which Christ pressed his fingers, leaving six holes imprinted on it.”

Church of the Savior

“Et ipse avulsus est ab iis, quantum jactus est lapidis. Nam paulo altius versus montem Oliveti, ad meridiem, trinam fecit orationem, in quo loco nova nunc aedificatur ecclesia. Est vero unus locus unius orationis in abside sinistra, alius in medio chori, tertius in abside dextra.” (Caput XXIV)


“And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw. A little higher up towards the Mount of Olives, to the south, he prayed three times, in the place where now a new church is being built. The place of the first prayer is in the left-hand apse, the second is in the midst of the choir, and the third is in the right-hand apse.” (Chap. 24)

Sabino de Sandoli, Itinera Hierosolymitana Crucesignatorum, Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem 1978-1984, vol 2, pp. 352-353