Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is venerated by many Christians as the location of Christ's crucifixion and burial (sepulchre).  Honestly, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre did not feel like the place of crucifixion and burial, even though it very well could have been.  An abundance of incense and candles thickened the humid air.  The dark halls were crowded with pushy foreigners and gaudy decor.  Thankfully, we were warned before entering so we weren't disappointed by our negative reaction to such a historical site.  While many people believe the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the actual site (look at the evidence shared on this website {here}), there is another place that claims to be "Golgotha" and Christ's burial site that we visited later.  You will see in a future post the enormous difference between these two places.     

There are six denominations that own this church (Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox)  As you can imagine, it is very hard to get anything done because all six denominations must agree about certain areas that are common ground... Check out this video showing a physical fight between the monks inside the church {here} 
Notice the ladder underneath the right arched window.  This has not been touched since 1852 because they cannot decide on which denomination it belongs to and who should move it!  
 Above is the Alter of the Crucifixion.
John 19:38-42
"Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.  Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.  At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.  Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there."

As depicted in the artwork above, the slab of stone in the following picture is believed to be the place where Jesus' body was prepared for burial after his crucifixion. 
 Mark 8:31
"He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things 
and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, 
and that he must be killed and after three days ... rise again."

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