The tomb that sits at the center of history and has brought visitors from all over the world, a tomb believed to be the that of Jesus Christ, has only been viewed as a shrine and the burning candles that sat above where it was thought to be. Over the ages, for centuries, no one has ever looked inside, until last week, that is, when a crew of specialists finally opened the tomb in Jerusalem’s Old City. Within, they found a limestone burial bed, where it is said that the body of Jesus Christ was laid to rest after his crucifixion ahead of his resurrection. The crew worked for 60 hours collecting samples and took photos while reinforcing the tomb for its resealing.
Take a look inside what is traditionally considered the tomb of Jesus Christ https://t.co/1Qrv7LSEjr
— National Geographic (@NatGeo) October 30, 2016
Father Isidoros Fakitsas, who is the superior of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate spoke with The National Post on the subject.
“We saw where Jesus Christ was laid down,Or at least nobody alive today. “We have the history, the tradition. Now we saw with our own eyes the actual burial place of Jesus Christ.”
The tomb that is believed to be that of Christ’s was revealed and opened due to a renovation that was needed and involves many complex phases. The renovations also included those needed on the shrine that was built around the tomb long after the death of Christ and is within what is today known as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It is the holiest site of the Christian faith. The tomb was discovered in the 14th century. The publication relays historical information about the shrine and tomb upon which it sits.
“The marble shrine, known as the Aedicule, was built in its existing form in 1810 during the Ottoman era and has been crumbling lately. But only after pressure from Israel did the three religious communities that share the church, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Roman Catholic, agreed to a renovation that began last spring.”
It is the National Technical University of Athens that is handling the renovation project and has also worked on restorations to the Acropolis in Athens, and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. There has also been a documentary shot for the project by The National Geographic Society. The National Geographic Channel will air this later on in the month. A photographer, Oded Balilty, for the network shared about his experience photographing for the project.
“The space was very, very, very small. You could barely stand, especially when there were three people working there. Once they pulled the first stone back [80 centimeters], the place became smaller. We couldn’t stand on the tomb itself. We stood on a wood structure that the restoration team built for us. The atmosphere inside the tomb is so fragile. I had one camera clamped above my head and another camera over my shoulder. It was like walking on eggshells. “
In addition to researchers finding that the original slab where the body would have laid was still intact, they also confirmed the existence of the original limestone cave walls. A window was also cut into the southern interior wall of the shrine to expose one of the cave walls.
— ISRAEL21C (@ISRAEL21C) November 6, 2016
As National Geographic states, there is still those who doubt that this was actually the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. There is indirect evidence that suggests that the site being identified by representatives of Roman emperor Constantine 300 years later is reasonable.
The publication notes that when Constantine’s representatives arrived in Jerusalem around A.D. 325 to locate the tomb, they were directed to a temple built by the Roman emperor Hadrian 200 years earlier. Historical records indicate that Hadrian had the temple built over the tomb to assert the dominance of Roman state religion at the site venerated by Christians.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]