Q. I recently read that the Vatican has purchased the Upper Room and that some of the Jews are very displeased by this. With the current Pope’s acknowledgement of his and Muslim’s God being the same, do you think this is a precursor to one world religion and the splitting of Jerusalem between Jews and Palestinians?
A. As with most things in Jerusalem there is a difference of opinion about locations. The place called the Upper Room, which I’ve visited several times, is in the second story of a building built by the Crusaders in the 12th Century. It sits directly above the place that’s traditionally thought to be the tomb of King David. Neither the Upper Room nor the Tomb of David are authentic locations. According to 1 Kings 2:10 David was buried in the City of David, which is several miles away. As for the original Upper Room, it was almost certainly destroyed by the Romans along with the rest of Jerusalem in the first century.
The dispute between the Jews and Catholics over ownership of this traditional site has been going on almost since the 1300’s when the Franciscans claimed to have purchased it. Whether the resolution of this dispute is part of a larger goal to divide Jerusalem again is unknown.