Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) - On Wednesday, March 8th, the chapel of the Ascension, located at the top of the Mount of Olives, was damaged in an arson attack. According to the media of the Custody of the Holy Land, in all likelihood, a car tire may have been laid and burnt on the revered rock - kept inside the chapel - where, according to a tradition dating from the early centuries of Christianity, Jesus ascended to heaven. The cabinet containing the postcards and religious items sold by a Muslim family, was also damaged. According to police, the incident may be related to a dispute between two families linked to the holy place. One person was allegedly arrested for questioning.
The Chapel of the Ascension is one of the four shared holy places that depend on the Status Quo. The status quo governs how the churches share the use, it's space and time of use. Of the four holy places, (the other three are the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Basilica of the Resurrection in the Old City and the Tomb of the Virgin in the Kidron Valley, near Gethsemane) this chapel is the only one under the jurisdiction of the Waqf, that is the Muslim authority of the holy places.
The present chapel dates from the Crusaders period. It was built in the place of a previous church destroyed in 614 by the Persians.
The holy place is also frequented by Muslims (who admit the Ascension of Jesus into heaven, while denying his death on the cross and his resurrection). (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 09/03/2017)