2012
custodia.org

Where the cock crows

2012/07/19

Where the cock crows

The name Saint Peter in Gallicantu is derived from the Latin “gallus cantat”: the cock crows. It was to this place that Christian tradition has traced Peter’s denial, which Jesus himself had predicted. According to various sources, this was the site of Caiaphas’ Palace, where Jesus was put on trial.

P. JEAN DANIEL GULLUNG
Saint Peter in Gallincantu

“The Assumptionist Fathers have been the custodians of this place since 1887. We came here the first time for a penitential pilgrimage in 1882, with 1,013 pilgrims, and every year more and more pilgrims came to perform penance. They were accommodated at the newly constructed Notre Dame Hostel in Jerusalem. There was a piece of land there and a farm with cows, pigs, and chickens, and these provided nourishment for the pilgrims.

Today the Sanctuary overlooks the ancient city of David. It was consecrated in 1931 and constructed over the ruins of an ancient Byzantine church. The impressive complex is venerated for its commemoration of Jesus’ presence in the city, and especially the route he took during the Passion, when he was led from Gethsemane to Caiaphas’ Palace by the guards.

Christian tradition has given most importance to a small cell near the crypt: it was in this “deep pit” that Jesus was held before his trial and from here he would have heard Peter’s triple denial. When he was taken through the courtyard, their gazes would have crossed again.

“Peter denied Jesus, saying ‘I do not know this man; I no longer recognize him as my teacher.’ Jesus looks at him and the cock crowed after his three denials. This gaze saved him, since he felt it was full of mercy and forgiveness.”

The deep pit, the stairs of the Scala Sancta, the numerous archaeological ruins, all allow pilgrims to re-live Christ’s trial, thanks to the constant presence of the Assumptionist Fathers.

The presence of the Assumptionist fathers is above all to serve the pilgrims, originally at Notre Dame and then here, ever since the Church and Monastery were constructed 30 years ago. From 1948, there were originally two communities: this area was then part of East Jerusalem administered by Jordan and the community here was under Dutch oversight, while the community at Notre Dame was under French leadership. After Notre Dame was sold and re-acquired by the Vatican in 1967, the community settled at St. Peter in Gallicantu, where they continue their service to the pilgrims.

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