The Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center has an outdoor 11-circuit prayer labyrinth fashioned in Chartres-style design and set within a meditation garden. A prayer labyrinth has one path that winds through the circular symbol, leading eventually to the center. The path has no dead ends or false starts, but leads simply and quietly, eventually to the center and then back again.
The Mount Olivet prayer labyrinth offers guests a quiet, solitary, focused place to walk steadily and deliberately into a place of peace.
Mount Olivet’s professional staff is available to provide orientation to the prayer labyrinth or facilitate your walk.
History of the Prayer Labyrinth
The prayer labyrinth is an ancient circular pattern containing a meandering pathway that leads eventually to the center of the circle. The labyrinth’s Christian history dates as far back as the fourth century, at which time a labyrinth was imbedded into the floor of a basilica in Algeria. Early labyrinths contained four circuits on which devout people would slowly meander while praying and seeking repentance and forgiveness.
In the Middle Ages, it was common for Christians to make a pilgrimage to the city of Jerusalem, which they considered the center of their world. Around the 12th century, when it became too dangerous for Christians to travel to Jerusalem, several cathedrals containing 11-circuit labyrinths served as a substitute for an actual pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The labyrinths in these pilgrimage cathedrals came to be called the "Chemin de Jerusalem" or Road of Jerusalem. The beautiful labyrinth in the cathedral in Chartres, France has been preserved from these days of pilgrimage.