An Evening Walk To the Holy Sepulcher

10:21:00 PM Brooke Neal 4 Comments

We really had anticipated Jerusalem to be busy at Christmas time, but surprisingly it wasn't, as evidenced by our evening walk.  Perhaps it was late--7pm didn't seem so late to me, but not much was open and so perhaps that is why so few people were out.  Anyways, we had the alley ways to ourselves and it created an almost eerie feeling as we wandered.  
Our destination was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre--the purported spot of Golgotha or the place of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ.  Early excavations at the site revealed the grave of Joseph of Arimathea, as well as three crosses, leading Helen, mother of Constantine, to declare this as "the spot" around 326AD.



By then a pagan temple stood on the holy ground, but Helen believed it had been erected by Romans to discourage the early saints from worshipping there. Almost immediately a new church was built to commemorate this most holy of Christian sites.  "For the past 16 centuries Christian pilgrims have arrived at this spot from every corner of the globe; their tears, laments and prayers have done much to sanctify it."
I really believe that last quote is true--this may or may not be THE SPOT, but the collective faith of believers makes the church feel special, more sacred and holy.
We arrived near closing time and had the church almost all to ourselves; it was lovely--no pushing, no commotion, nothing but quiet time to reflect. The stairs in the photo above lead to the now built over hill of Golgotha. This room, bedazzled in candles, lanterns and ornate artwork is actually the top of the hill where Christ is believed to have hung on the cross.  For many, this is the most sacred room in the church.

Behind the alter and underneath protective glass is the actual rock of the hill and if you look carefully there is even an indent for the cross.
Control of the building is shared by 3 different factions within Christianity which has sometimes made for contentious management of the building. For generations a Muslim family has held ownership of the keys and is responsible for opening and closing the church each day.  We just so happened to be at the church at closing time and saw the process of locking up for the night.  
The Details: 
Hours: 4:30am-8:00pm, closes 1 hour earlier in winter.
Dress: Modest dress is required

 Good night, Jerusalem.

Serendipity is Sweet

4 comments:

  1. I deleted your link as you requested, but your black and white photos are very attractive. I particularly like the last. I hope you will consider relinking.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your experience and your photos. Until I read your post, I had never given thought about what the place where Christ was killed may look today.

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  3. Great shots. Jerusalem is definitely on my list of places to visit. So interesting.

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