As the supposed site where Jesus Christ died, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre has a huge spiritual significance for Christians. However, not only is it the alleged site of his death, but it is also the supposed spot where Jesus was buried. Located in Jerusalem with a raised chapel called "Calvary" or "Golgotha," which translates to "place of the skull," it's believed that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre sits atop the skull-shaped hill where Christ was crucified.
Christians flock to the Church in droves each year, hoping to catch a glimpse of Golgotha as well as Jesus's empty tomb. As a result, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the most important physical sites in Christianity. Visitors take pictures of the tomb where Jesus was buried from the outside but when researchers opened Jesus's tomb in 2016, they were in awe of what they found. Much like the spiritual and historic past of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, its present has turned out to be just as exciting.
Persian And Muslim Attacks Repeatedly Damaged The SIte
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was damaged when the Persians attacked Jerusalem in 614, although it was restored shortly thereafter. There were numerous earthquakes that shook the church during the Middle Ages, but its eventual destruction was caused by Fatimid caliph al-Ḥakim Bo-Amr Allah in 1009. Caliph Hakim, as he was known, supposedly desecrated the church to rebuke the taunts that he was, in fact, Christian.
In the 1040s, the Byzantine Empire was able to repair the church which was still in Muslim hands. Despite the repairs in the mid-11th century, Calif Hakim's attack on the church was one of the justifications for the Crusaders when they marched to the Holy Land late in the 11th century.
The Brotherhood Of The Holy Sepulchre Guard The Church
The Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre are an Eastern Orthodox Christian monastic group tasked with guarding the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as well as other holy sites in the Holy Land. The Brotherhood has been in existence since the fourth century when they were established by Constantine. In addition to protecting and defending holy sites, members of the Brotherhood carry out religious ceremonies at the church regularly. The Brotherhood is made up of Greek and Arab members, but patriarchs and bishops are only drawn from the Greek members.
Crusaders Rebuilt The Church After They Recaptured Jerusalem
During the 11th and 12th centuries, Western Crusaders rebuilt the church and brought the tomb and the Golgotha under a single dome. The First Crusade, launched by Pope Urban II in the late 11th century, successfully recaptured Jerusalem for Christianity in 1099. Afterward, one of the goals of the Crusaders was to restore the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Crusader presence at the church is fundamental to its development and it has been generally believed that the tomb of Jesus was buried by the Crusaders. Recently, researchers have discovered walls, rock, and limestone caves from 1,700 years ago. This places the timing of the initial cladding of the tomb during the reign of Constantine.
There's A Rock Of The Calvary That People Can Touch
Located within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a piece of limestone rock from the Calvary Hill, also known as Golgotha. The rock is within a silver disc that sits on the Greek altar in the church. People can touch the rock through a hole in the disc, which indicates where people believe the cross stood. Just next to where people can reach and touch the rock, there is a visible portion of the rock behind glass. This portion is fractured, supposedly a break that occurred during an earthquake that took place when Christ died.