L-O/ Lake - Olives


Lake Tiberias

Lake Tiberias (or Tiberiad) also called the Lake of Genesaret after the name of a city on its bank. It is a true interior sea (it is also given the name of Sea of Galilee) and a place of intense fishing activities but also of strong storms. Peter and Andrew are fishermen of this lake and it is on its banks that Jesus preaches and makes some miracles.




For the Hebrew people, the lamb and the ewe were precious property; it is therefore natural they have become the most perfect gift to God, the victim of the offered sacrifice (see Cain and Abel). But the lamb is also the symbol of the believer guided by the shepherd who is God. The innocent lamb is the spotless victim of the sacrifice; its blood protected from death the Hebrews who had to flee from Egypt; it is the blood of the Jewish Passover.

When John the Baptist greets Jesus as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), he makes him the inheritor of the whole Jewish tradition. Jesus will be the perfect immaculate and spotless victim… but for Christians, Jesus is dead and risen; then the lamb becomes the sign of death and the victory over death. It is this glorious lamb that is worshipped by the crowds in the Book of Revelation. See Shepherds and Lambs.



last cena or last supper

Cena = evening meal in Latin. The Last Supper is the last meal taken by Jesus with his apostles on the eve of his death. He washes the feet of his disciples and offers bread and wine to them as a sign of the new covenant.




“God has saved”, in Hebrew. Two men bear this name.

Poor Lazarus is the hero of a parable told by Jesus.

Lazarus is the name of a friend of Jesus. He lives in Bethany (5 kilometres from Jerusalem) with his sisters Martha and Mary (identified with Mary Magdalene). He dies and his sisters ask for Jesus to come and he raises him back to life.




The Latin form of Myriam “God’s beloved”, in Hebrew. Several women bear this name in the Bible: Moses’ sister, Jesus’ mother, Lazarus’ sister (see Mary Magdalene) in addition to a few other women in the canonical and apocryphal gospels.

According to the Apocrypha Mary, Christ’s mother, is the daughter of Anne and Joachim (representation in Nativity). The birth of Christ is announced to her (Annunciation) by the angel Gabriel before her marriage with Joseph. She meets her parent Elizabeth (Visitation), gives birth in Bethlehem (Christ’s Nativity) then receives the visit of the magi and flees to Egypt with Jesus and Joseph. The emblematic mother of Jesus (Holy Family), she is always attentive (Christ and the Doctors). Present at the Cana Wedding, she then appears only at the foot of the Cross but the tradition has represented her at the entombment, at the Ascension and at the Pentecost. She is recognized as the Woman of the Revelation and she is always present at the Last Judgement.



Mary Magdalene


Magdalene is derived from Magdala, a city on the bank of Lake Tiberias. The tradition has identified three women as one and the same person named Mary Magdalene: Mary Magdalene who is freed from the demons by Jesus, the sinner at Simon’s house and Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.

Mary Magdalene is presented as a sinner in love with Jesus; she is present at the foot of the Cross and at the entombment. She is above all the one who discovers the empty tomb and to whom the risen Christ appears first.




“who is like God”, in Hebrew. The Angel or Archangel Michael is the victor in the fight against the rebellious angels who rebelled against God. He symbolises God’s victory over evil forces. He holds the scales of the Last Judgement in which the souls of men are weighed.




from the Latin verb “to be astonished, to admire”. In Ancient Times prodigies were numerous. The Bible the miracle is more a sign than a prodigy. It is an act that God’s power accomplishes to address a message, a sign to men. (See Daniel and the Lions).

The miracles of Jesus are often explained by him and put in relation with faith (see Miracles, Wedding at Cana, the stilled Storm, Miraculous Draught of Fishes, Raising of Lazarus.




Moshè is a name of Egyptian origin to which the meaning “drawn from water” is given. Born in Egypt when the Israelites were slaves, he is drawn out of the water by Pharaoh’s daughter and educated like an Egyptian prince.

Misunderstood by his people, he escapes to the nomads of Madian, gets married there (see Jethro’s daughters’ well) and when keeping his father’s flocks he receives God’s revelation through the burning bush. Guided by God, he asks Pharaoh to free the Hebrews and in front of his refusal, he organises the Exodus or Flight from Egypt across the Sea of Reeds. He leads his people to the Sinai where God gives him the tables of the Law. Life in the desert lasts a long time with many events (see the Bronze Serpent); Moses dies before entering the Promised Land.




“rest”, in Hebrew. A descendant of Cain, he is a just man who builds the arch to rescue his family and all animal species from the Flood. He is the father of a new mankind. Inventor of wine-making he is also the first man to get drunk. This scene is sometimes represented under the name Ham uncovering his Father’s Nakedness.



Mount of Olives, Garden of Olives

The Mount of Olives stands a little to the East of Jerusalem. According to Mark and Matthew there was a closed garden where Jesus prayed before his arrest. John places it beyond the torrent Cedron separating the town from the Mount of Olives. The other name of the garden is Aramaic Gethsemane “olive press”.



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