Church of the Holy Sepulchre


Located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the holiest site for Christian pilgrims, containing both the place of our Lord's Crucifixion (Calvary) and the Tomb of the Resurrection.

Control of the church is shared, rather reluctantly, between several denominations, under a set of rules known as the Status Quo.  These denominations are the Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Roman Catholic, Coptic, Syriac Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox.  Protestants (including Anglicans) have no permanent place in the church.  The keys to the church are held by a Muslim family.

The church in its original form dates back almost to 300 AD, founded originally by St Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, and is an absolute "must" for all Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem.

The photo (left) shows the tomb itself (decorated with marble and precious metals).  As with most Jewish tombs of the time, it has two chambers.

Because of the attempts to preserve as many aspects as possible of the original tomb, everything has been covered over, leaving very little of the original that can be seen.


This is one of two chapels built on the hill of Calvary.  Pilgrims are queued up to touch or kiss the actual Rock of Calvary, which protrudes through the floor underneath the altar.


Just in through the main door lies the Anointing Stone, traditionally where the body of Jesus was placed after being taken down from the cross, and where initial anointing took place before beign hurriedly placed in the tomb.


Opposite the tomb is the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, as the church serves as the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Below the place of Crucifixion is the Chapel of Adam where, behind a glass door in the east wall can be seen the actual rock itself.  (See photo above).  There is an Orthodox tradition that Adam was buried beneath the rock, and as our Lord hung on the Cross, some of his blood seeped through the rock and touched the skull of Adam, thus redeeming mankind.


Here is another view of the Tomb of our Lord.