The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

November 30th, 2009 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Thursday morning we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Church is a sacred site for many Christians, who believe is the site of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Apart from the spiritual aspects, it is a magnificent ancient building and is a must see.

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This is the entrance to the Church, which was constructed around 300 AD.

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This is the Stone of Annointing, claimed to be the spot where Jesus was prepared for burial.

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One of the many artworks on the walls.

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Upstairs is the purported site of the crucifixion, You go up a narrow winding rock staircase to get to what is called Golgotha. You can see the rock the cross was placed in, and down below is also the rock that sealed his tomb.

Whether or not you are a believer, the church is a sacred place, and was a real highlight for me.

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7 Responses to “The Church of the Holy Sepulchre”

  1. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,069 comments) says:

    Eh, I thought it was pretty crappy compared to the Kotel and al-Haram. Cramped and gloomy and terrible art. The church of the Nativity is even worse.

    The site was identified (rather randomly) by Constantine’s mum in the 4th century. The Bible identifies the real site as being outside the city walls, not in the middle of town.

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  2. Countess (150 comments) says:

    Interesting that possible next Australian Liberal Leader Joe Hockeys father was born in Bethlehem. ( during the British mandate)

    His family surname is originally Hokeidonian and the family was of Armenian-Palestinian heritage.
    An arab as the possible future PM of Australia ?

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  3. Ryan Sproull (7,136 comments) says:

    The site was identified (rather randomly) by Constantine’s mum in the 4th century. The Bible identifies the real site as being outside the city walls, not in the middle of town.

    Bah, it’s the thought that counts.

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  4. Bob100 (8 comments) says:

    Danyl – The current walls date from the period after the Crusaders. During the time of Jesus the northern wall stretched across roughly from the current Jaffa Gate to the Temple Mount. The site of the Church was outside the city at that stage. It was a quarry and the evidence for that is clearly seen in some of the lower levels. The area was finally enclosed just a little before 70AD. so it fits the Biblical requirements perfectly.

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  5. Ed Snack (1,872 comments) says:

    Constantine’s mother identified rather a lot of sites, she was a devout but it seems somewhat gullible sort and nearly all the identified Christian sites can be traced back to her work. It is however no worse attested than the selection of the dome of the rock as the place where Mohammad is supposed to have ascended into heaven, that is a later addition to Islam as well.

    Unfortunately the bible is not much better than Constantine’s mother in terms of real knowledge of the circumstances around the crucifixion, the gospels were probably not assembled in the form we have them until at least 180 CE, and although the Pauline letters (or at least some of them) are generally accepted as authentically dating from before 60 CE those letters do not deal with the fact’s of Jesus’s life. There are thought to be no longer extant precursor gospel narratives (the “Q” gospel underlying the synoptics), but the gospels and their facts are probably a mixture of written materials, oral histories and stories, and “official corrections” to fit the evolving faith. We do have at least one close to contemporary history from Josephus, however he makes no mention of the crucifixion and his only mentions of Jesus are themselves not accepted by all as original.

    Barring some incredible new find of ancient documents (akin to the Dead Sea scrolls), it seems unlikely we will ever know any more than we do now. Thus the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is as good a place as any for Christians to make a shrine.

    BTW, did you visit the Armenian quarters on the roof David ?

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  6. Valerius (2 comments) says:

    Jerusalem is certainly a must see. Thanks for the photos. Another must see, a wonder of the world, is in Haifa: the Baha’i garden terraces and shrine. Make sure you see them both at night and during the day.

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  7. Valerius (2 comments) says:

    Jerusalem is certainly a must see. Thanks for the photos. Another must see, a wonder of the world, is in Haifa: the Baha’i garden terraces and shrine. Make sure you see it both at night and during the day.

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