Initially used only for the Jebusite fortress, Mount Zion gradually acquired a more holistic meaning.
The first reference about Mount Zion is from 2 Samuel 5:7, describing the fortress of Zion as the City of David. After the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem, Mount Zion became not only the seat of power in Israel but also a symbol of the Lord’s power. The Book of Psalms grants a higher value for Mount Zion, as 2:6 describes it as the Lord’s Holy Mountain.
Meaning that the City of David was eventually considered the City of God. In Isaiah, it was used in a broader context to refer to Jerusalem as a whole in the following phrase: “Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, Behold your God!”. The book of Isaiah also indicated that the people staying in Zion would be called holy and that the Lord was going to send gifts for them (Isaiah 4:3, 18:7).
The use of Zion as the holy Jerusalem has passed down to The New Testament, particularly in the books of Matthew, John, and Paul.
One of the most significant events on Mount Zion took place at Cenacle or the Upper Room. Jesus held the Last Supper with his apostles on the night before his crucifixion. Although there are still speculations regarding the exact location of the Last Supper, monks and historians link the Upper Room described in the Gospel of Luke to the Cenacle. According to Luke 22:7-12, Jesus directed Peter and John to the large furnished room upstairs in the Cenacle for preparations.
Another memorable event, the first encounter between Peter and Jesus after the resurrection, took place on the eastern slopes of Mount Zion. The Gospel of Matthew 26:69-75 describes Peter’s triple denial of Jesus, followed by instant regret and their reconciliation.
There are two possible locations determined for the falling asleep – or the death – of the Virgin Mary. One of them is Ephesus in today’s Turkey, but the early Christian belief indicates that the event took place at the top of Mount Zion in today’s Church of the Dormition.