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City of Jerusalem

Title: The City of Jerusalem

Subject: The Paschal Mystery

Age: 3 to 13 years

Liturgical Time: Lent, right before Holy Week

Doctrinal Content: Jesus was an historical person who celebrated His last supper, suffered, died, and rose in/around the sacred city of Jerusalem.

Direct Aim: This lesson aims to announce the Paschal events within the particular geographic context of Jerusalem.

Indirect Aims: This lesson hopes to go deeper into the mystery of the Incarnation and the Paschal Mystery, to enable children to participate more fully in the celebration of Pascha, and to prepare for future studies of the Passion, death and resurrection narratives.

Sources: Gospel accounts of the Passion

Materials for the Lesson:
Model of the City of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus with moveable parts: temple, walls, pools of Siloam and Sheep's pool set in depressed "footmarks;" important to be built up with hills
flat, control map identical in size to the model and with the same markings
Set of small, moveable place markers to fit on the maps, representing the following:

  • Cenacle (upper room)
  • Garden of Olives
  • House of Caiaphas
  • Tower of Antonia
  • Herod's Palace
  • Pilate's Palace
  • Calvary with cross
  • Tomb with place for candle

Map of Jerusalem
Optional: set of cards with the above named with a simple explanation

The Lesson Plan:
Invite the children to gather around the City of Jerusalem material. Explain, "This is the City of Jerusalem (locate it on the map of Israel). This is where Jesus spent His last days and where He was crucified and rose." Describe the city by moving its main parts from the model to the control map:

  • The temple: most important city in the land of Israel because it is where the temple is. Remember Jesus as a baby being presented by Mary? He taught there, also.
  • Walls and gates: like many ancient cities, why did they have them? (protection)
  • Pools of water
  • Set of stairs: representing a hilly city with lower and upper parts

Describe the sequence of events of Jesus' Passion. Move the markers from the model to the control map:

  • Cenacle: The Last Supper took place in the Cenacle (upper rooms).
  • Mount of Olives: After Jesus said words of love, He went out of city and was arrested.
  • House of Caiaphas: Jesus was taken back into the city to the house of high priest.
  • Tower of Antonia: Within the walls, where the Roman governor Pilate lived. Pilate questioned Him, and then sent Him to King Herod.
  • Herod's Palace: Herod also questioned Jesus, though Jesus would not reply
  • Point to Tower of Antonia: Jesus was sent back to Pilate, condemned to death, to be crucified on a cross.
  • Calvary: Jesus was taken through the city to Calvary (note: have 3 crosses, but only one moveable); sometimes called Golgatha, "Place of the Skull." There He was crucified and died.
  • Tomb: Jesus was laid in a tomb over which a great stone was rolled over the entrance.
  • Did Jesus stay in the tomb? No; women went on the third day, wondering who would move the stone; the stone was already moved. An angel said, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? Jesus is risen just as He told you."

Light the candle and sit in silence for a moment.

So much happened after the Last Supper until the Resurrection, we remember those events during Holy Week: the Last Supper, the death, the Resurrection, the words of love and Jesus' actions of love. He laid down His life for the sheep, and He took it up again. He is not here, He is Risen. Invite a response: silence, prayer, or song.

Restore the materials, dismissing the children to work. Invite them to use the materials to think more about the last events of Jesus' life and how He died and rose.

Note: When describing the people who crucified Jesus, choose the words "religious authorities" rather than "Jews."

Work with the material directly
Prayer, Art response
Look in books for pictures of Jerusalem
Color/create map of Jerusalem, including a legend

Notice: This lesson plan utilizes training and the general philosophy/method of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Materials found in this document, however, have been created specifically to incorporate the theology and dogmatic teaching of the Orthodox Church. The author of this lesson offers special recognition to Mrs. JoAnne Padget, CGS Instructor, who provided instruction and guidance in the CGS method. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program requires intensive study and strongly recommends that teachers using their program enroll in and complete coursework through an authorized CGS instructor. More information about CGS is available at