The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, The Birthplace of a Religion
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is debatably the holiest site for religious Christians in the entire world. While many would give this title to the Church of the Nativity, the birthplace of Jesus, many devout Christians hold the Holy Sepulchre in the highest regard for its significant historical events. Let's learn about these events, along with some interesting tidbits you can take with you the next time you visit the Holy Sepulchre in Israel.
The Holy Sepulchre, also known as the Church of the Resurrection and the Church of the Anastasis, is located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The reason for the church’s widespread popularity is because of the major events that occurred there. The Holy Sepulchre was:
The site of the circumcision ceremony of Jesus. This took place eight days after his birth, a history that coincides with the Jewish tradition of circumcision. This event can be seen in Scripture in the Gospel of Luke, in the second chapter.
The site of Jesus’ crucifixion by the Romans. The site contains the last four Stations of the Via Dolorosa, commemorating Jesus’ Passion, what Christians refer to as the savior’s ultimate suffering and sacrifice. Within the Holy Sepulchre, there also lies the tomb of Jesus and a shrine that was erected in commemoration.
Additionally, this is the same site where Jesus was said to be presented for redemption as per Jewish tradition to redeem the firstborn sons after a month. It is the same site where the cleansing of the temple narrative is believed to have taken place. This tells the story of how Jesus expels the merchants and moneychangers from the temple, accusing them of sullying the holy temple with their evil practices.
Modern Day Complex
Not to miss out on the holiness of this site, most major affiliations of Christianity are represented within the Holy Sepulchre's complex. The Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Syriacs, Ethiopians, Egyptian Copts, and Roman Catholic churches all have headquarters in this spot. Though the site was reconstructed several times throughout history, the current structure includes several churches, passageways, and structures including the Calvary, the Chapel of Franks, the tomb of Phillippe D’Aubigny, and several churches and monasteries.
Your vacation can’t possibly fit in all the interesting and religiously significant sites Israel has to offer, but the Holy Sepulchre has to be at the top of your priorities list. Discover the history, the beauty, and the culture of this fascinating place today.