Deleted text on Barbara’s request
You can watch my 4 min 08 sec HD Video Jerusalem Church of the Holy Sepulchre out of my Youtube channel.
Built in 325 by Justinian, this is Jerusalem's oldest and Christianity's most sacred site. Built over what is purported to be both the cruxification and burial place of cChrist. Get here early as long lines form quickly during the day.
The Greek Choir, also known as the Katholikon, is by far the largest open space in the Church.
Although usually closed off from visitors by a chain, balconies and ornamental iconastasis are readily seen. The Greek Orthodox believe the centre of the world is located in the Katholikon, with a large urn on the floor marking the spot.
But occasionally during the day the chain is lifted and a better perspective can be found standing under the dome and more detail is to be seen.
From the outside, one of the most important Christian church and focus for many pilgrmages, fails to impress.
This is mainly due to the lack of viewpoint in the old alleyways of the old city - you turn a corner and there it is, a small open plaza leading to the main doors, the dome of the building almost hidden from street level. And even once inside it is difficult to ascertain the true enormity of the place as it is a complete warren of separate Chapels: the differing faiths within the all-encompassing term 'Christian' do not live side by side very easily (to such an extent that the key to the church is held by a local Muslim, who's responsibility it is to open the church each morning and lock it at night).
Stories abound of the lack of co-operation between the differing groups within the church. About the only thing that is agreed on is that the church is on the site of Golgotha - the place of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
What we see today is predominantly Crusader (12th century), with additions and renovations following a fire in 1808 and a major earthquake in 1927 along with the remains of various structures built on the site since 326AD.
It's open from 4.30am until 8pm (7pm in winter)
Finding his church actually was not so easy, it is infact hidden in one of the many corners of the huge market that is placed all over the old town. Plus when you look at that corner you see a mosque so you do not think that proceeding a few steps further you can find the church, but this is the great side of Jerusalem, synagigues churches mosques are just one next to the other. The church is not impressive if compared with some cathedrals in Italy and europe in general but ofcourse it is one of the main symbols of the christianity. There is a que to see the sepulcher ofcourse but it takes less than you think(30 minuts during christmass period) because the man at the entrance of the sepulcher really does not let you stay more than a few seconds, so if you think to pray, just go to a quiter area of the church.
This church, is a maze of churches, belonging to varying denominations.
The main denominations are Catholic, Eastern Orthodoxy & Oriental Orthodoxy.
It is packed when open by tourists and pilgrims. There is a lot to see here, and it is very easy to miss things in the maze of chapels.
Supposedly here there is the crusifixiation site and the burial site of Jesus, however this is up for discussion.
A most beautiful section of the Church, the rotunda is built in classical Roman style. The 11th century dome was replaced after the 1808 fire when the two storey colonnade was built.
To the back of the Rotunda is the Syrian Chapel.
For me this was the highlight of my day in Jerusalem. This church has so much to see and understand. The presentation is beautiful in a religious way.
As with most of the Churches in Jerusalem, most have been rebuilt many times since the days of Jesus.
The first basilica was built in 326 AD, rebuilt 1040's, enlarged by the Crusaders and extensive repairs required over the last 2 centuries due to earthquare and fire damage.
This church is built around what is considered to be the site of Christ's Crucifixation,burial, and Resurrection.
An unassuming entrance hides a massive, sprawling, awe inspiring church carved into the rock of Jerusalem, and built around the shrine which venerates the place where Jesus is believed to have been buried. The church is also meant to have been built on Golgotha, the hill upon which Jesus was crucified. As you can imagine, it is a very holy place, and the destination of many a pilgrimage.
The Church was founded by Saint Helena, who had been instructed to build churches on all the sites touched by the life of Jesus, including the Church of the Nativity that commerated his birth in Bethlehem. It survived for centuries, even under Muslim rule, until the "mad caliph" had it destroyed. This move caused angry reactions across Europe, and was fundamental in launching the Crusades.
In fact the first crusade was effectively a pilgrimage to the church, and each of the crusaders came here to worship. The Crusaders later set about rebuilding the church, and their chief, Godfrey of Bouillon, declared himself "Protector of the Holy Sepulcher". After Saladin the Church fell again under Muslim rule, but he eventually allowed pilgrims to visit the church.
Today it is home to Greek Orthodox, the Armenian Apostolic and Roman Catholic churches, and you will see clerics of all three denominations wandering about various parts of the church, conducting ceremonies. The Armenian monks were particularly fetching with their dark brown robes, and long black beards.
Being such a holy place, on any normal day you can expect it to be packed to the rafters with pilgrims and tourists. The Sepulcher itself will have queues a mile or more long. I visited on Christmas Eve, and because everyone had been scared off by recent events in the region, I almost had the place to myself. On Christmas Eve!
Deep in the recesses of the church is the 12th century Armenian Church of St Helena - along with the modernised Chapel of the Discovery of the Cross, hewn into the rock foundations.
By the Church of the Holy Sepulchre standards, it's a fairly quiet spot (and therefore one of my favourite spots) - most of the guided tours stop at the top of the steps with the guide pointing into the recesses without wandering into the lower depths.
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