Temple Institute reports on the ‘Bordeaux Pilgrim’

Hagia Sion (left) and Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Wall (right)
Mosaic (4th century) in Church of Santa Pudenziana, Rome


The Temple Institute had the following in its newsletter today as well as some in a link:

Rosh Chodesh Av, 5782/July 29, 2022 …

The Bordeaux Pilgrim & The 9th Of Av In the year 333 CE a Christian pilgrim traveled from Bordeaux in France to Israel and Jerusalem. Although he remains anonymous, he left an account of his travels and observations, and is known as the Bordeaux Pilgrim. His pilgrimage took place during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine. In Jerusalem he ascended the Temple Mount, where among many other fascinating observations, he writes the following: “There are two status of Hadrian; not far from the statues is a pierced stone to the Jews comes every year and they anoint it and they lament with a groan and they tear their garments and then they withdraw.”

In Jerusalem he ascended the Temple Mount, where among many other fascinating observations, he writes the following:

“There are two status of Hadrian; not far from the statues is a pierced stone to the Jews comes every year and they anoint it and they lament with a groan and they tear their garments and then they withdraw.”

The statues of Hadrian remained from the 2nd century CE. Hadrian was the Roman emperor that put down the Bar Kochba rebellion (132-136 CE). After crushing the Jewish rebellion Hadrian renamed the province of Judea, Syria Palaestina and renamed Jerusalem, Aelia Capitolina. He built a pagan temple on the Temple Mount featuring statues of himself.

But what is really of interest to us is what the pilgrim of Bordeaux states next: “not far from the statues is a pierced stone to the Jews comes every year and they anoint it and they lament with a groan and they tear their garments and then they withdraw.”

The late fourth century historian Epiphanius recorded that in Jerusalem in Judea, a Christian building was mentioned existing no later than 135 A.D.–and that it was built in the first century.

Here is an account by Roman Catholic priest and scholar, the late Bellarmino Bagatti:

Precisely from the topographical aspects, the Bordeaux pilgrim in 333 wrote, “Within the wall of Sion appears to be a place where David had his place. And of the seven synagogues that were there, there remains only one, the remains of the others they plough and sow as the prophet Isaiah said” (E 729)…

As a positive fact we have it that the Bordeaux pilgrim saw on Sion only one synagogue. To explain the silence on the mother church which certainly was on Sion, we can only identify this synagogue as mentioned by the Bordeaux pilgrim with the church adapted by use by the Judeao-Christians, and therefore called, according to their usage, a synagogue. This is confirmed by St. Cyril, who some half a score of years later…calls the place “a church of the Apostles”…

(Bagatti, Bellarmino.  Translated by Eugene Hoade.  The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine. Nihil obstat: Ignatius Mancini, 1 Februari 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 26 Februari 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 28 Februarii 1970.  Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, p. 64)

Epiphanius wrote the following (a portion of which I have bolded for clarity):

{Hadrian} found the temple of God trodden down and the whole city devastated save for a few houses and the church of God, which was small…it had been built, that is, in that portion of Zion which escaped destruction, together with blocks of houses in the neighborhood of Zion and the seven synagogues which alone remained standing in Zion, like solitary huts, one of which remained until the time of Maximona the bishop and Constantine the king. (The Epiphanius of Salamis, Weights and Measures, chapter 14. (1935), pp.11-83. English translation transcribed by Roger Pearse. www.tertullian.org viewed 01/03/13)

That building may been the first Christian building. It looked more like a rectangular synagogue than the type of rounded buildings that people in the world today consider to be a church.

The “church of God” structure Epiphanius mentioned in the fourth century is believed to have been the building which has sometimes been called the ‘Cenacle.’ It was located on a Jerusalem western hill that is often called Mt. Zion/Sion (there is some controversy associated with the actual biblical Mount Zion).

In the fourth century, the sun-god worshiping Emperor Constantine had a rounded building built next to it, which is known as the Hagia Sion. Notice something from Dr. Bagatti about the two buildings:

In 333 the Bordeaux pilgrim found there a basilica erected “by order of Constantine”. By then the holy place had passed from the hands of the Judaeo-Christians, who had held it until then, to those Gentile Christians. (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine. Nihil obstat: Ignatius Mancini, 1 Februari 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 26 Februari 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 28 Februarii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, p. 61)

The “holy place” mentioned above had been the general location of the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill, which could have been the original worship building that Christians built. This is the place that has been called Sion and the Cenacle. The Greco-Romans eventually added a shrine and a variety of relics (Ibid, pp. 27-28,69). The basilica was a different building.

Although they did not have cameras back then, a representation of both buildings still exists. A mosaic of Jerusalem at the time was constructed and placed in a church in Rome known as Santa Pudenziana. My wife and I visited it in June 2013 and she photographed the mosaic of Jerusalem in its main apse (that photo is at the beginning of this post).

I was able to see the remains of these buildings in Jerusalem in October 2013, but they look different than they did in the fourth century. But Constantinine’s building still is rounded like the buildings of the sun-god he worshiped. Despite also professing Christianity, Constantine was buried in a sun-god related grave.

Here is a photo I took in October 2013 of some of the original bricks of the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill:

Photo of Jerusalem in Church of Santa Pudenzenia

Here is another report about the possible original age of this building:

It was first suggested by Pixner (Pixner, Paths , 333) that the lower course of ashlars are Herodian in the style of 12 their cut and this has not been disputed so far as I am aware. However, this does not automatically mean that the ashlars were cut in the time of Herod the Great, only that the style is consistent with that originating in Jerusalem in the late 1 st century B.C.E. In 1922, L. H. Vincent noted that the lower courses of ashlars are irregular in shape suggesting that this was due to secondary usage (Vincent, Jérusalem , 435) . In other words, the stones were not cut for this building but were taken from other (demolished?) structures and used to fashion this one . This fact is consistent with the story of returning Jewish Christians arriving in Jerusalem in the mid – 70s after the city’s (partial?) destruction by the Romans and finding that they had to make do with what materials were available in order to construct their building. (Clauson DC, Department of Religious Studies University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Can the Cenacle on Mount Zion Really be the “Upper Room” of Jesus’s Last Supper? c. 2017 https://www.bibleinterp.com/PDFs/Is%20the%20Cenacle.pdf)

Here is more information from a Roman Catholic priest and scholar named Bargil Pixner:

Their adherence to Jewish customs, especially circumcision and observance of Jewish holy days, naturally alienated them from the church of the gentiles. The fissure became a gaping canyon with the strongly anti-Judaic positions taken by the Byzantine church after the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.).

Though recognizing the authenticity of the place, the gentile Christians looked with suspicion and almost contempt at the synagogue of the Judeo-Christians on Mt. Zion, considering their way of life outdated, if not heretical…This was the situation during the second half of the fourth century A.D…

To fend off gentile influence, both pagan and Byzantine (that is, gentile Christian), the Judeo-Christians of Mt. Zion built a wall around their ancient sanctuary. It was this kind of ghetto wall that the Bordeaux Pilgrim referred to when he visited Mt. Zion in 333 A.D. He entered and exited through a wall, he reported…

In 1985, while a sewage channel was being dug in front of the Dormition Abbey, I took the occasion to examine the area archaeologically and was able to locate the foundation of the facade of this Crusader church. The southwest corner of the church is in an exact alignment with the southern wall of the building of the ancient Judeo-Christian synagogue (see Crusader remains). The bases of nine Crusader pilasters and the western section of the northern wall of the Crusader church were also discovered and preserved.

Thus, it was the Crusaders who first included the walls of the ancient Judeo-Christian synagogue, which had become the Church of the Apostles, into their own basilica. As the Madaba map clearly shows, even the big rectangular Byzantine Hagia Sion was separate from the remains of the older Church of the Apostles. (Pixner B. Church of the Apostles Found on Mt. Zion, pp. 29-30,34)

The Judeo-Christians probably built their church, at that time called a synagogue, sometime in the decade after 73 A.D. For its construction, they could have used some of the magnificent ashlars from Herod’s destroyed citadel, not far away. Or perhaps they used the stones from the ruins of the Temple itself…with the intention of transferring some elements of the Holy Temple to a site becoming a new Mt. Zion (Zion III).

If that is so, the event may in fact be referred to in one of the apocryphal Odes of Solomon composed about 100 A.D. by a rival sectarian Judeo-Christian group. The fourth ode begins:

“No man can pervert your holy place, 0 God, nor can he change it, and put it in another place, because [he has] no power over it. Your sanctuary you designed before you made special places.” (Charlesworth, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, p. 736.)

Was this passage in condemnation of the effort of the Judeo-Christians who built the synagogue on Mt. Zion to transfer some of the holiness of the destroyed Temple to their place of worship on the new Mt. Zion by constructing it in part with stones from that Temple?

From this time on, the western hill of Jerusalem was referred to by Christians as Mt. Zion (Zion III). Very few places in Jerusalem can point to such an enduring tradition as Zion’s claim to be the seat of the primitive church. No other place has raised a serious rival claim…

By this time the Judeo-Christian synagogue on Mt. Zion had become known as the Church of the Apostles. It became known as the Church of the Apostles not only because the apostles returned there after witnessing Christ’s post-resurrection ascent to heaven, but also because the building was built, as we have seen, under the leadership of Simon son of Kleophas. Kleophas was known as a brother of Joseph of Nazareth, therefore Simon was a cousin of Jesus. Simon was later considered one of the apostles, outside the circle of the 12. For this reason, the house of worship built by Simon could rightfully be called the Church of the Apostles.

(Pixner B. Church of the Apostles Found on Mt. Zion. Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1990: 16-35,60. Also found at http://www.centuryone.org/apostles.html –yet that site and others who seemed to have copied it have left out important statements on page 26, which are included above and italicized by me as they are left out of the that online version)

So, Dr. Pixner reported that the building was separate from the Constantinian one, but later the Crusaders decided to incorporate some of the original church/synagogue into theirs. The Muslims ended up taking it over and adding their own symbols in the building. It did not remain as the ‘headquarters’ of the faithful Christian church throughout the church age (see also Does the Church of God need to be headquartered in Jerusalem?).

A part of the wall of the COG building still remains above ground, and various foundation stones below ground (it was on the front cover of the first Bible News Prophecy magazine).

Here is a view of the side of the building, I photographed, with the additional bricks which were added by the Crusaders and others:

Photo of Jerusalem in Church of Santa Pudenzenia

The original COG building may have future interest. The Church of Rome wants this building and has often taken steps to try to acquire it (see, for example, Jews claim that they have been improperly blocked from visiting the ‘tomb of David’ since the Pope’s visit to Mt. Zion).

Though some (like The Temple Insititute, various Protestants, and even some who claim to be in the COG) feel otherwise, since Christians are ‘the temple of God’ in the New Testament, there is not a biblical requirement that a massive Jewish temple must be rebuilt before the millennium begins (see Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?).

But might there be a physical building before then?

Well, for animal sacrifices, the Jews only need an altar–they have that (watch also Sanhedrin makes burnt offering to dedicate altar!). They may also put up a tent or a small building in the future.

The Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill, was a Christian building constructed shortly after 70 A.D. and was composed, to a great degree, of stones/bricks from the previous Jewish temple.

It is possible that it will play a role in end time prophecy (see Does the ‘Cenacle’ deal have prophetic ramifications?) as there is a chance the man of sin (the Beast of Revelation 13 and King of the North of Daniel 11) may sit in it ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; see also Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?).

Since the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill, known as Mt. Zion, was originally a Christian building, and is built on the foundation of the bricks of the last Jewish temple (cf. Ephesians 2:20), is it possible that this will be the place that the ‘son of perdition’ sits?

Perhaps the Church of Rome will end up, for a time, with the building it wants.

A building that the Bordeaux Pilgrim reported about so long ago.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill Could this building, often referred to as the Cenacle, possibly have been the oldest actual Christian church building?
Does the ‘Cenacle’ deal have prophetic ramifications? After a 20 year negotiation, the Church of Rome has negotiated the right to have Catholic mass in the building known as the Cenacle. It is in the area where the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill once stood. This is believed to be the location of the earliest Christian church building. How does the Bible define the ‘temple of God’ in the New Testament? Could this be the area where the ‘man of sin’ will sit in the “temple of God’ that Bible prophecy discusses in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4? This is a YouTube video.
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to two sermons The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work and God’s Temple in Prophecy. And here is a version of the latter one in the Spanish: El templo de Dios en profecía.
Nascent Sanhedrin structure and high priest: The plan is to start animal sacrifices this would fulfill prophecy! The reconstituted Sanhedrin wants the reimplementation of animal sacrifices. A related video is titled Sanhedrin pushing animal sacrifices.
The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World The Temple Institute is watching a ‘red heifer.’ Why might this be important in the sequence of end time events? Here is a related link in the Spanish language Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella. Here are links to two related videos in English: Red Heifers and the Fate of the World and The Red Heifer and the End of the World.
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, Early Heresies and Heretics, Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List, Holy Mother Church and Heresies, and Lying Wonders and Original Beliefs.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2?; here here are links to videos in Spanish: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? and ¿Quién es el ‘hombre de pecado’? Here is a version in Mandarin: N;ÿ Œf/’Y’jNº’ÿ Here is a link to a related English sermon video titled: The Man of Sin will deceive most ‘Christians’.
Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future What does the Bible say about Jerusalem and its future? Is Jerusalem going to be divided and eliminated? Is Jesus returning to the area of Jerusalem? There are also two related YouTube videos you can watch: Jerusalem To be divided and eliminated and God’s and Satan’s Plan for Jerusalem.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

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