The Church of the Holy Sepulchre


  From the Christian perspective, the World's holiest place, though the Islamic and Judaic equivalent is not far away. This is the reputed location of Calvary and the Tomb of Christ. Once again, the arguments rage, but let's put those to one side and soak up the atmosphere of this extraordinary building. 



The less-than-grand way in



The Parvis

I'll start by finishing off those stations of the Cross, the highlights of a visit here. Station 10, the Franks chapel, is on the right of the parvis. This is the traditional location of the stripping of Christ. 

  Now let's head inside, through the one door that hasn't been walled up. Turn right and climb the stairs for the next two stations.  this is the location of Calvary, or Golgotha, and there are two chapels, one Catholic and one Orthodox.  The Catholic chapel, station 11, is where Christ was nailed to the Cross: the Orthodox chapel marks the site of the Crucifixion, station 12.



Station 11



Station 12

Between the two chapels is the altar of Our Lady of Sorrows. (Below left.) For many, this is station 13, the place where the dead Christ was laid on the ground, celebrated in art as the Lamentation. Not everyone agrees with this, however. A more popular view is that for Station 13 it is necessary to go back down the stairs to the Stone of Unction, not far inside the entrance (Below right.) The Calvary chapels are on the balcony above and to the right.


  On to Station 14, the most significant of all: the Tomb of Christ. A tottering pile known as the aedicule surrounds the tomb. In the nineteen-forties it was supported by iron girders to stop it falling down. They are still there, and the aedicule continues to crumble. Sadly, a constant theme here is the failure of the six Christian churches that run the church to agree on anything.
  Visitors now join the queue to enter the tomb. Inside, a fourteenth century slab was laid on the place where the body rested.
  Books on the Holy Sepulchre are few and far between, but there is an excellent one on the history of the aedicule: The Tomb of Christ by Martin Biddle.




   Of course, there is much more to this building than just the Stations of the Cross: more on page 2.


Blog page 1


Holy Sepulchre Church - page 2