The very name of the Church means ‘the Lord wept’. On the 10th day of Nissan on a Sunday Jesus got on to a donkey and began his triumphant entry in Jerusalem. When he reached the point where he saw the breath-taking view of Temple Mount, which at that time had the Temple of Jerusalem standing across the Kidron valley, he prophecies the destruction of Jerusalem and weeps over the city.
At this point stands today the tear drop Church which was designed by the Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi (26 September 1884 – 14 December 1960). He was an Italian architect who became known as the “Architect of the Holy Land”. Barluzzi designed the Church in the shape of a Greek cross, where all four arms are of the same length, but shaped its dome to look like a tear.
The four corners of the dome run into four vials similar to those carried by women of antiquity who carried their tears in small vials. These vials are a reminder of the tears of Christ who at this particular spot wept over Jerusalem.
What is unique about this Church is that the apse is facing the west instead of the East as most Churches are built. It overlooks the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock making for a beautifully captured picture within a frame. When the priest is celebrating the mass he stands in the same direction as Jesus when he mourned the fate of the city.
The present Church stands on the ruins of a seventh century Church with mosaic flooring from that era. Beneath the altar is a mosaic image of hen gathering her chicks in commemoration of the words of Jesus in Luke 13:34