From the Chapel of St. Helen 13 more steps descend into the Chapel of the Finding of the Cross. The left side is owned by the Catholics, whose altar features a life-sized statue of St. Helen (Constantine's mother) holding a cross. According to an early legend, Helen discovered the True Cross on which Christ was crucified while the church was being excavated and built around 330 AD.
The Greeks have the right side of the chapel.
The rock can be seen under glass on either side of the main altar, and beneath the altar there is a hole that allows you to touch the rock itself. The slot cut for the cross is shown in the east apse along with those of the two thieves.
Crack in Calvary, said to be the one caused by the earthquake that occurred at the Crucifixion.
You will find the Chapel of Adam, located directly beneath Calvary and entered via a door near the Stone of Unction.
You can watch my 1 min 59 sec HD Video Jerusalem Church of the Holy Sepulchre Golhotha Calvary out of my Youtube channel.
The Catholicon is located just opposite the entrance to the Sepulchre. It occupies the main nave of the Church. It is the large nave of the church, which has been enclosed by a wall on all sides. This Greek Orthodox cathedral features a large iconostasis. On the left there is the throne of the Orthodox Patriarchate.
I actually like this church alot. Some say it's lackluster by comparison to say, St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican or the Islam's Dome of the Rock - but I think it's got its attractions.
You may enjoy the dim candlelight feel to it as much as I do, especially if you take the time to explore around the rotunda, including down the stairs into the basement area. If you don't have a guidebook with you, it may be worthwhile negotiate an ad hoc "guide" (the kind that are loitering around the outside of the church gates)...there's got to be some irony in having a Muslim give you the tour of a lifetime through Christianity's most important holy site.
This is a holy place for christians as they believe that this was the place where Jesus was crusified and buried before he came back to life.
Inside you church you will find the tomb of Jesus and the stone they put his body when they cleaned him.
You will see a mosaic depicting Christ's anointing for burial decorates the outer wall of the Catholicon behind the Stone of Unction.
To enter the Armenian Shrine or Place of the Three Marys (Armenian Orthodox) you have to turn left from the entrance hall where the Stone of Unction and the Mosaic Wall are located.
The Roman Catholic area is located to the right (north) of the Sepulchre. It consists of a large square chapel (the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene) and another private chapel for Franciscan monks. The former is held to be the site where Jesus appeared to Mary after his resurrection. In the Crusader era, this chapel was approached from the street to the west via an impressive entrance portal.
You can watch my 2 min 33 sec HD Video Jerusalem Church of the Holy Sepulchre Prison of Christ and Outer part of Catholocon out of my Youtube channel.
A low door on the opposite side of the Chapel of the Angels leads to the tiny Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, which contains the tomb of Christ itself. This is the 14th Station of the Cross and the holiest site in Christendom. Here a marble slab covers the place where the body of Christ was laid and from which he rose from the dead.
Only four people are allowed in at a time. I was lucky to be there alone during several seconds.
The vase of candles marks the place where his head was. The banner behind it varies with the liturgical seasons: this one is after Easter and says "Christ is Risen –Hristos voskres (in Russian)."
Sorry for a bad picture from the Chapel...
The chapel of the Prison of Christ is located at the east end of the north aisle. According to XII-th century Catholic tradition it housed Jesus and the two thieves before the Crucifixion. The chapel probably originated as a liturgical station where the Passion and Death of Christ were commemorated.
The Greek Orthodox allege that the real place that Jesus was held was the similarly named Prison of Christ, within their Monastery of the Praetorium, located near the Church of Ecce Homo, at the first station on the Via Dolorosa.
You can see the Greek Chapel of St.Longius and the Armenian Chapel of Division of Robes to the right from the Prison of Christ.
The Greek Chapel of the Derision is located to the right. You will see the Triptych there.
29 steps downstairs lead to the Chapel of St. Helen.
It is owned by the Armenians and known to them as the Chapel of St. Gregory. On the stairway walls are many small crosses carved by medieval pilgrims. The chapel has three aisles and two apses: the north apse is dedicated to the penitent thief; the south apse to St. Helena, mother of Constantine. A seat in the southeast corner of the chapel is said to have been occupied by Helena as she searched for the True Cross, a story first mentioned around 351.
There is a wonderful floor mosaic in the Chapel of St. Helen.
You will find the Chapel of St. Vartan with a beautiful Pilgrim Ship in the left corner of the Chapel of St Helen.
You can watch my 2 min 19 sec HD Video Jerusalem Chapel of St. Helen and Mary Magdalene out of my Youtube channel.
An early tradition associated the site of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection as the center of the world, and by the X-th century it was marked by an omphalos. Today this is marked by a marble vessel in the west end of the Catholicon.
The pagan Greeks had their omphalos in Delphi.
You can see the colorful cupola above the Catholicon. It dates from after the 1927 earthquake. It is decorated with an image of Christ and other icons.
The galleries and dome are part of the Catholicon.
You can watch my 2 min 51 sec HD Video Jerusalem Church of the Holy Sepulchre Catholicon and Omphalos out of my Youtube channel.
The Coptic St. Antony Monastery is located on the rooftop of the Holy Sepulcher and belongs to the Coptic Patriarch in the Old City (Egyptian Christians). It dates back to 325 AD. The Coptic Church of Saint Anthony is next to the Ninth Station of the Way of the Cross.
A multitude of crosses lead the way to the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (fot the Greek Orthodox it is called Church of the Resurrection) is the most sacred place for the Christians.
Here are the last five Stations of the Cross and also they say that here was Jesus crucified, burial and also resurrected
You may find many people outside offering to be your guides. As there are not many tourist around in Jerusalem, and the ones that come to visit it, come in organised excursions, they can be a little more pushing than before in order to get any clients.
Remember that in all the religious places you need to have covered your arms and legs, specially if you are women... (well seems men legs are not so dangerous lol)
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.