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Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem

The Holy Sepulcher or the Sacred Tomb, in Arabic called Al-Qeyamah, which means the Resurrection. It is no doubt the most important shrine in the Christian world. On the grounds of the Holy Sepulcher it is believed that Jesus Christ (pbuh) was crucified, buried and rose from the dead.

The splendid facade of the church of the Holy SepulcherToday the keys to the basilica are in the hands of a prominent Palestinian Muslim family. The doors of the Holy Sepulcher open every morning at 7 am and close at 8 pm. This ceremony is performed in the presence of a Greek Orthodox, Armenian, and a Roman Catholic priest.

Greek Orthodox, Armenians, Roman Catholics, Copts, Ethiopians and Syrian Orthodox all share rights to the church. These rights came as the result of a status quo agreement negotiated at the time of the Ottoman Turks 200 years ago. The agreement governs time and space for the Holy Sepulcher. The different communities conduct their prayers at appointed hours, filling the church with a continuous cycle of prayers.

"And Jesus walked out of the city, carrying His Cross to a place called Calvary", which means in ancient Aramaic Golgotha, the Scull. There he was crucified. He was then laid in a new tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathea. The tomb was close to the place of his death.

Pilgrims started visiting the Holy Sepulcher about 2000 years ago, on the resurrection day, when Mary Magdalene and the disciples of Jesus went to the Tomb and found it empty.

Map of the Holy Sepulcher

1.Entrance Hall12.Coptic Chapel
2.Muslims Guards13.Jacobite Chapel
3.Stone of the Unction14.Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea
4.Chapel of Adam15.Altar of Mary Magdalene
Golgotha is 5, 6, and 716.Franciscan Church
5.Altar of the Nails of the Cross    17.Arches of the Virgin Mary
6.Altar of Stabat Mater18.Holy Prison
7.Altar of the Crucifixion19.Chapel of Longinus
8.Catholicon or Greek Cathedral20.Chapel of the Division of the Holy Robes
9.Place of Mourning21.Chapel of Saint Helena
10.Rotunda and Tomb of Christ22.Chapel of Derision
11.Sepulcher of Christ23.Latin Choir

The original Church was built by Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, after destroying the temple built by Herodian 132-135. Herodian built his temple in an attempt to erase any traces of Christianity and dedicated it to the gods Jupiter, Junon and Venus.

But most of what we see today is the work of the Crusaders, who in the year 1149 built the great basilica over Calvary and the empty Tomb of Jesus.

The basilica is a collection of chapels clustered around the rock of Golgotha and the tomb of Jesus (pbuh).

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