Meaning “Before the cock crows” in Latin, Gallicantu is the traditional location of the Palace of Caiaphas the High Priest. The Italians built the church known as St. Peter in Gallicantu in 1931 directly on the slopes of Mount Zion.
The evidence would suggest that the Lord Jesus Christ was held here after He had been subjected to the trials before both Annas and Caiaphas. The Church is built on the site of Caiaphas’s Palace and also sits atop a dungeon that would have been used to house prisoners in the 1st Century.
“And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes. But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none.”
Mark 14: 53 – 55
It is also here that Peter would have denied knowing the Lord Jesus some 3 times, just as Christ had predicted.
“Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, “This is one of them.” But he denied it again. And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept.”
Mark 14: 66 – 72
Gallicantu is one of the most striking churches in Jerusalem. Built almost on a sheer hillside, the Church has a golden rooster atop a black cross. The tradition goes back about 1,800 years that this is the correct location of the High Priest’s Palace.
An ancient dungeon dating to the 1st Century is located here. There is good reason to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was held here while waiting trial before the full Sanhedrin and later, Pilate.
Just outside of Gallicantu is an ancient Roman era road that would have led out of this part of the city and down to the Kidron Valley. It has been conjectured that the Lord Jesus Christ would have led the disciples down this road only hours before His arrest. They would have come this way after the Last Supper. It would also have been by this route that the soldiers would have led the Lord up to Caiaphas’s house after He was taken in Gethsemane.
“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”