Jerusalem - Jesus & The Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Just looking at a map and descriptions, you see a lot of "site of death or place of burial or tomb of" churches/structures/gardens. A couple places have claim to Jesus. Since I only made it to one, let's take a look. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is not only for Jesus. Various sections are claimed by Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Coptic Christians. The place is huge and quite fascinating. So many events claimed to have taken place on this spot and eventually a church was built up and over the land. On my visit several sections were under reconstruction and others were important to someone but had either no signs or descriptions. So here are the three that stand out for Jesus.

1) This might be the site is where he was crucified. There's a hole in the rock that was made for hangings in general. It would have been on a hill since there are markers in town that show the original city floor and it's quite below this. On each side of this cross, you can look at the rock. Under the table is a prayer space for one person to kneel at the feet of Jesus. People were doing it and in general hanging around this room. I'm still curious where the other two holes are for the two people that were hung next to him that day.
2) A few steps away there's a mural depicting people dressing the body. It's outside, which would have been normal since this building again was built hundreds of years later.  The stone where the body was laid is below the lanterns. I don't know how I got the picture because people prayed under the lanterns and 4-6 were there at a time. This makes sense sort of, pull the body down and mourn.
3) Then we get to what doesn't make sense. A few more steps away is a tomb where Jesus is said to have been buried. Another site farther away also makes this claim which might make more sense. After all, if you were the authorities, would you allow this to happen when attracting people is not what you want? Seems strange.

People believe and stories have a way of sticking. There's almost always a line to get into the tomb and pray. I went in (go at night before closing, no line) and it's a small space that fits 3 people. Not conducive to anything more than a quick chat. No privacy either. No pictures allowed.
For all the skeptic that I am, the history of this church is intense. I'd go back again, hopefully with an iPod tour to guide me through.



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