What is widely believed to be the location of the tomb of Jesus Christ, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, is about to undergo a massive repair and restoration process. The ancient burial place of Jesus Christ has not received renovations in the last 200 years, leaving it in a state of disrepair so severe it is literally on the verge of collapse.
According to Quartz, details of the placement of Jesus Christ’s body directly after the crucifixion are found in the Bible in Matthew 27, verses 57-61.
“When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it (in) clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.”
Since that fateful day over 2,000 years ago, the site where many believe Jesus Christ was violently crucified, buried, and resurrected three days later has undergone many changes, mostly in the name of preserving the area so rife with historical and religious significance.
The tomb of Jesus Christ is housed within the structure of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem. In the beginning, the tomb was open to the elements, but over the years shelter has been built and expanded into what is today the Church of Sepulchre. Over time since Jesus Christ vacated the premises, it has been attacked, destroyed, and fallen into disrepair, but the Christ followers in charge of the property have always managed to save it either by repairing, restoring, or rebuilding.
Crusaders graffiti in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, 11-13th century AD, Israel. pic.twitter.com/iBntAnHAC5
— History (@HistoryTime_) May 14, 2016
Unfortunately, one thing that has stood in the way of maintaining the tomb of Jesus Christ is the disagreement between the three Christian denominations trusted to care for the ancient relic. The Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, and Roman Catholic denominations have current custodial care of Jesus Christ’s tomb and the church it is housed within.
Apparently, the members of these different Christian religions have heatedly disagreed on who would be responsible for the construction and payment of the extensive maintenance needed to save the burial place of Jesus Christ. Finally, with the demise of the structure imminent, the three have agreed to equally pay for repairs and renovations which will cost a whopping $3.4 million. Construction is expected to last for about one year.
The New York Times reports the Israeli police took over the burial place of Jesus Christ on February 17 of this year, forcing the monks to leave and barring pilgrims from entering. This seems to be the impetus needed to bring the three denominations to an agreement. Franciscan friar Reverend Athanasius Macora says there must be unity rather than division.
“One of the serious issues in the church is that the status quo takes place over every other consideration, and it’s not a good thing. Unity is more important than a turf war.”
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre website notes that followers of Jesus Christ have visited the site for centuries. Interestingly, the story of Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine, is said to have found the cross of Jesus Christ, also known as the True Cross, on the grounds in 326.
St Helena, in this Broughton painting, was Constantine’s mother & supposedly found the ‘True Cross’. (Ping @TheCCT) pic.twitter.com/aYeZDHsMpQ
— Mike Stuchbery (@MrMStuchbery) May 19, 2016
The following shows a video tour of the Holy Sepulchre. Some of the images featured are the Chapel of Mary Magdalene, the Chapel of St. Longinus, the Stone of Anointing, the Tomb of Joseph of Arimatea, and much, much more. Close-up shots of ancient relics, artwork, stonework, chandeliers, and other decor and artifacts of the building housing the tomb of Jesus Christ leave little to the imagination.
[Image credit: Dusan Vranic/Associated Press]