Further down the hill on the right is the entrance to the tear-shaped church called Dominus Flevit.
Medieval pilgrims were the first to designate a rock on the Mount of Olives as the place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). When the Muslims denied access to Christians, the Franciscans
(in 1881) built a small chapel just on the other side of the centre track. In 1954 excavations in the southern part of their property brought to light a monastery of the C5 AD and an immense cemetery, first used c.1600-1300 BC and again later in two main periods, 100 BC-AD135 and AD 200-400.
The new church (1955) reproduces the outline of the late C7 chapel whose apse is preserved to a considerable height; the emplacement of the altar and that of the chancel screen are still visible. The fragmentary inscription mentions neither the dedication nor the function of the monastery to which the chapel belonged. After the death of the founder the adjoining sacristy was transformed into a funerary chapel with a well preserved mosaic floor whose inscription reads, ‘Simeon, friend of Christ, made and decorated this oratory and offered it to Christ our Lord in expiation of his sins and for the repose of his brothers, the hygumenos Georgios and the friend of Christ Dometios.’ The present open space was the monastic courtyard. The monastery was abandoned towards the end of the C8.
At least from the C7 to the arrival of the Crusaders the liturgical procession from the Eleona on Holy Thursday night commemorated here the prayer of Christ in agony. According to Luke 22:41 it was ‘a stone’s-throw’ from Gethsemane where he was arrested. The same tradition is apparently attested by Egeria for the late C4. That there was a Byzantine monasteryon the site is confirmed by the date of the mosaic-floored wine tank in the corner of the courtyard and other (no longer visible) elements.
Source: The Holy Land by Jerome Murphy-O’Connor