The Suffering of Jesus in Caiphas’ Dungeon

They have laid me in the lower pit: in the dark places, and in the shadow of death (Psalm 87:7).

After Our Lord endured the mock trial under Caiphas, and before being led in chains to Pilate, He was held in a prison cell in the high priest’s house. It was on His way to this cell that He looked upon Peter after the crowing of the cock.

It was not a cell. It was a deep hole in the ground, a dungeon. There is no mention of this prison in the Gospels, but its horror was revealed to holy mystics. The following extract is what Blessed Maria de Agreda saw in her vision of this most horrid incarceration (The City of God). (Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich also describes this dungeon in her revelations in The Dolorous Passion.)

“Already past midnight, the whole council resolved to lock Jesus in the subterranean dungeon below Caiaphas’s house. Scarcely any light penetrated into this prison to dispel its darkness. It was filled with such uncleanness and stench, that it would have infected the whole house, if it had not been so remote and so well enclosed. You see it hadn’t been cleaned for many years, both because it was so deep down and only criminals were confined in it, for none thought it worthwhile making it more habitable, and so this place became unworthy of all human kindness.

“God foretells Jesus being thrown into prison by the prophet Jeremiah; he likewise was thrown into a dungeon. Jeremiah 37:15. The princes were enraged, and had Jeremiah beaten and thrown into prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe, which they were using as a jail. 37:16 And so Jeremiah entered the vaulted dungeon, where he remained a long time.

“The servants dragged the Lord to this polluted and subterranean dungeon. As Jesus was still bound with the chain and ropes, these men freely exercised all cruelty dragging Him forward by the ropes, causing Him to stumble. Having fallen on the ground, these men loaded upon Him their kicks and curses.

“In one corner of the dungeon protruded part of a rock, which on account of its hardness had not been cut out. To this block protruding from the floor, they bound Jesus to it. These men forced the Lord in a most painful and torturing posture, so that He could neither seat nor stand upright for relief. Thus they left Him bound to the rock, closing the prison door with a key and giving it in charge of one of the most hateful of their number.

“Now some of the servants decided to return to the dungeon to have some fun at the Lord’s expense. Going up to Him they began to violate Him with their spittle and rain blows upon Him with their fists. Jesus opened not His mouth or made any answer; He raised not His eyes or lost the humble serenity of His expression. Their motive was to try His patience, for they wished to drive Jesus to some ridiculous saying or action. When they witnessed His unchanging meekness, they allowed themselves to be incited still more.

“They untied Jesus from the stone block and placed Him in the middle of the dungeon, at the same time blindfolding Him with a cloth. They began to come up one after the other and strike Him with their fists, or slap or kick Him, each one trying to outdo the other. ‘Prophesy,’ they would say. ‘So who was it that struck You.’ The meekest Lamb silently accepted this flood of insults and curses.

“Next these most hateful men decided to remove the Lord’s clothes. But God’s justice would not allow this indecency. Thus it happened that none of these men could execute their design. Their limbs became as if it were frozen or paralyzed until they changed their intent. As soon as they abandoned their indecency, the use of their limbs would again be restored. Although these men saw themselves paralyzed and suddenly restored, they attributed it to the sorcery and magic of this Man Jesus. They continued to practice their insulting mockery and tortures until they noticed that the night had already far advanced. They again tied Jesus to the column and departed.” (Taken from Spirit Daily website)

The Sacred Pit in Caiphas’ House, under the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu

  • Mike

    Thank you Brian for writing this article as I was unaware of the tortures of Caiphas’ dungeon. Sorrowful, but worthy Holy Week contemplation.