Located just outside Jerusalem’s Old City, on the eastern slope of Mount Zion, the Roman Catholic Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu is situated on the spot where, according to tradition, Jesus was jailed after his arrest by the Romans. The church’s name is a reference to the crowing of the cock during Peter’s triple denial of Jesus.
The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu was built in 1931 on the remains of a succession of other churches, the oldest of which was a Byzantine shrine to Peter’s repentance constructed in 457 CE. As such, it is a composite of various epochs and styles, combining ancient works of art with modern design. Among the more impressive fixtures are a huge mosaic depicting New Testament figures, and, in the courtyard, a statue that describes Jesus’ denial by Peter.
The church also extends below ground, incorporating stone from ancient grottoes in the lower chapel. Descending further below ground level, one arrives at a series of Second Temple-era chambers, where Jesus was perhaps imprisoned. A staircase leading down to the Kidron Valley on the northern side of the church is said to have served as a passage between the upper and the lower cities during the time of the First Temple.