My journey once to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My journey to the Church of Holy Sepulcher

Church of Holy Sepulcher from Lutheran Tower
 The Church
Originally built by the mother of Emperor Constantine in 330 A.D., the Church of the Holy Sepulcher commemorates the hill of crucifixion and the tomb of Christ's burial.
On grounds of tradition alone, this church is the best candidate for the location of these events. The Garden Tomb was not identified as such until the 19th century.

Church of Holy Sepulcher entrance
Crusader Facade
The original Byzantine church was destroyed by the Persians in 614 A.D. Rebuilt shortly thereafter, the Egyptian caliph al-Hakim destroyed the church in 1009 and had the tomb hacked down to bedrock.
The Crusaders rebuilt the church and much of what is standing today is from that time period. The ladder in the upper right window has been there since at least 1860, a testimony to rivalries between the church's factions.

Church of Holy Sepulcher, traditional place of Golgotha

Place of Crucifixion
Inside the church is a rocky outcropping which is the traditional place where the cross was placed. Archaeological excavations have demonstrated that this site was outside the city but close to one of its gates and thus would have been a good location for a crucifixion. Today this chapel is controlled by the Greek Orthodox Church.

Church of Holy Sepulcher edicule, place of 
Jesus' burial

 The Edicule
This structure preserves the location of Christ's tomb. Though the cave here was carved away by a Muslim ruler 1000 years ago, a clear history remains that this has been the revered location of the tomb. Al-Hakim's efforts to destroy the tomb (and Christianity) in 1009 were not the first.
Earlier the Roman emperor Hadrian erected a large platform of earth over the whole area for the construction of a temple to Venus. Jerome adds to Eusebius' statement that a statue of Jupiter was on the site for 180 years (140-320 A.D.) When Constantine converted the empire to Christianity, he had the pagan temples dismantled, the earth removed and a church built over the spot.


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