Jerusalem olive trees linked to Christ's time, experts claim

Oct 19, 2012

Olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane come from cuttings of a tree dating back to when Jesus is believed to have prayed on the hill in Jerusalem before his death, scientists said on Friday.

The study of one of the holiest places for was commissioned by Custodia Terrae Sanctae, a group of Franciscan missionaries who maintain and study ancient monuments in the Holy Land associated with Jesus Christ.

The study on eight in the garden began in 2009 and has involved several Italian researchers and professors including Giovanni Gianfrate, an expert on the history of olive trees in the .

The research found that three of the eight trees dated back to the middle of the 12th century and that parts of their roots were even older.

The garden was reorganised by Crusaders between 1150 and 1170.

The analysis found that all eight trees had "similar " which researchers said meant that they were all related to a single tree.

Cuttings from that more ancient tree were planted in the 12th century, the scientists said at a press conference in the Vatican.

Franciscan monk Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who is known as the "custos" of the Holy Land, said the olive trees were "testament to a deeply rooted faith".

Explore further: Big city life: New leafhopper species found on a threatened grass in New Jersey

Related Stories

Mission to revive Malta's olive oil production

Oct 15, 2012

A green-fingered ex-jeweller with a mission to revive Malta's olive oil production practically from scratch, Sam Cremona munches on a tiny black "Bidni" olive and shows it off to visitors.

Recommended for you

Study shows grey squirrels are quick learners

15 hours ago

They may be viewed by some as an invasive species or a commonplace pest of public parks, but a new study from the University of Exeter has shown that grey squirrels are actually quick learners capable of ...

Age and fertility in social insects

18 hours ago

A new research unit coordinated at the University of Freiburg tackles the question of why the otherwise usual trade-off between fecundity and lifespan in multicellular organisms is not present in social insects ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.