Paternoster Church in Jerusalem

This church is built over a cave in which Jesus was said to have taught the disciples the prayer that begins "Our Father who art in heaven".

The 4th-century Byzantine church has been partially reconstructed and provides a good sense of what the original was like. The half-restored church has the same dimensions as the original; the garden outside the three doors outlines the atrium area.

The unroofed church has steps leading down into the cave, which was partially collapsed when discovered in 1910. It is an interesting medley of ancient rock cuttings, concrete supports and marble furnishings. The cave cuts partly into a 1st-century tomb.

Left of the church's south door is an area paved with mosaics and identified as a baptistery. The 19th-century cloister is in a European style and upholds the tradition of multilingual plaques bearing the Lord's Prayer - 62 tiled panels display the prayer in 62 different languages, from Aramaic to Japanese to Scots Gaelic. The tomb of the Princesse de la Tour d'Auvergne is on the south side of the cloister.

The lane to the right of the convent's entrance leads to the Russian Church of the Ascension, established 1887. Its white tower can be seen from the Old City on a clear day. Byzantine tomb chapels with some lovely Armenian mosaics are preserved in the small museum.

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 8:30-11:45, 3-5; closed Sun

From the Scriptures:
Matthew Chapter 6
7 “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread; 12 And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors; 13 And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.