Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Architecture is patchwork of layers. Calvary Chaple is built here. Tomb of atom first human skull visible.

 

Within the church proper are the last four (or, by some definitions, five) Stations of the Via Dolorosa, representing the final episodes of Jesus' Passion. The church has been a major Christian pilgrimage destination since its creation in the fourth century, as the traditional site of the Resurrection of Christ, thus its original Greek name, Church of the Anastasis.

Today, the wider complex accumulated during the centuries around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre also serves as the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, while control of the church itself is shared between several Christian denominations and secular entities in complicated arrangements essentially unchanged for over 160 years, and some for much longer. The main denominations sharing property over parts of the church are the Greek OrthodoxArmenian Orthodox and Roman Catholic, and to a lesser degree the Egyptian CoptsSyriacs and Ethiopians. Meanwhile, Protestants, including Anglicans, have no permanent presence in the Church. Some Protestants prefer The Garden Tomb, elsewhere in Jerusalem, as a more evocative site to commemorate Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.

According to Eusebius of Caesarea, the Roman emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD built a temple dedicated to the goddess Venus in order to bury the cave in which Jesus had been buried.[3][4] The first Christian emperorConstantine the Great, ordered in about 325/326 that the temple be replaced by a church.[5] During the building of the Church, Constantine's mother, Helena, is believed to have rediscovered the tomb (although there are some discrepancies among authors).[3] Socrates Scholasticus (born c. 380), in his Ecclesiastical History, gives a full description of the discovery.[6]

 
Golgotha altar

Constantine's church was built as two connected churches over the two different holy sites, including a great basilica (the Martyrium visited by Egeria in the 380s), an enclosed colonnaded atrium (the Triportico) with the traditional site of Golgotha in one corner, and a rotunda, called the Anastasis ("Resurrection" in Greek), which contained the remains of a rock-cut room that Helena and Macarius identified as the burial site of Jesus.[citation needed]

According to tradition, Constantine arranged for the rockface to be removed from around the tomb, without harming it, in order to isolate the tomb; in the centre of the rotunda is a small building called the Kouvouklion in Greek[7] or the Aedicula in Latin,[d] which encloses this tomb. The remains are completely enveloped by a marble sheath placed some 500 years before to protect the ledge from Ottoman attacks. However, there are several thick window wells extending through the marble sheath, from the interior to the exterior that are not marble clad. They appear to reveal an underlying limestone rock, which may be part of the original living rock of the tomb.

The church was built starting in 325/326, and was consecrated on 13 September 335. From pilgrim reports it seems that the chapel housing the tomb of Jesus was freestanding at first, and that the Rotunda was only erected around the chapel in the 380s.[citation needed]

Each year, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the anniversary of the consecration of the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre) on 13 September.[8]

This building was damaged by fire in May of 614 when the Sassanid Empire, under Khosrau II, invaded Jerusalem and captured the True Cross. In 630, the Emperor Heraclius restored it and rebuilt the church after recapturing the city. After Jerusalem came under Arab rule, it remained a Christian church, with the early Muslim rulers protecting the city's Christian sites. A story reports that the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab visited the church and stopped to pray on the balcony; but at the time of prayer, he turned away from the church and prayed outside. He feared that future generations would misinterpret this gesture, taking it as a pretext to turn the church into a mosque. Eutychius added that Umar wrote a decree prohibiting Muslims from praying at this location. The building suffered severe damage due to an earthquake in 746.[9]