THURSDAY, MAY 29: Forty days past Easter (Christ’s resurrection), the Christian Church turns to an event of great prominence: the Ascension of Jesus. A teaching found in the New Testament, the ascension of Jesus is described as his resurrected body being taken up to Heaven.
If you go to Jerusalem today, your tour may take you to a spot on the Mount of Olives called the Chapel of the Ascension. Like almost everything in Jerusalem, the spot has a multi-layered history, involving everyone from Emperor Constantine’s mother St. Helena (who supposedly identified many sacred Christian locations in the 4th century) to various Muslim rulers and many Christian pilgrims. In fact, tradition holds that the famous Muslim conqueror Saladin helped to protect the sacred site. Wikipedia has an overview of this long and tangled history. The chief feature of the shrine today is a place where the faithful believe that Jesus’s last footprint on earth is still visible.