present to past tense in history, a couple misspellings, British to American spelling
The '''Church of the Holy Sepulchre''', called '''Church of the Resurrection''' (''Anastasis'') by Eastern Christians, is a large Christian church within the Old City of Jerusalem. The ground the church rests on is venerated by many Christians as [[Golgotha]], the Hill of Calvary where the [[New Testament]] records that Jesus Christ was crucified. It also contains the place where Jesus was buried (the sepulchre). The church has been an important [[pilgrimage]] destination since the 4th century, and the portions of it administered by the Orthodox are in the care of the [[Church of Jerusalem]]. The Church commemorates the founding of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on [[September 13]].
The initial building was founded by [[Constantine the Great]] in 335, after he
had removed a pagan temple on the site that was possibly the Temple of Aphrodite built by Hadrian. Constantine had sent his mother St. [[Helen]] to find the site; during excavations she is said to have discovered the [[True Cross]]. The church was built around the excavated hill of the Crucifixion , and was actually three connected churches built over the three different holy sites, including a great basilica (the ''Martyrium'' visited by the nun [[Egeria]] in the 380s), an enclosed colonnaded atrium (the ''Triportico'') built around the traditional Rock of Calvary, and a rotunda, called the ''Anastasis'' ("Resurrection"), which contained the remains of the cave that St. Helen and St. [[Makarios I of Jerusalem|Macarius]], [[Patriarch of Jerusalem]], had identified with the burial site of Jesus. The surrounding rock was cut away, and the Tomb was encased in a structure called the ''Edicule'' (from the Latin ''aediculum'', small building) in the center of the rotunda. The dome of the rotunda was completed by the end of the 4th century.
This building was damaged by fire in 614 when the Persians under [[w:Khosrau|Khosrau II]] invaded Jerusalem and captured the Cross. In 630, Emperor [[Heraclius]], who had captured the Cross from the Persians, marched triumphantly into Jerusalem and restored the True Cross to the rebuilt Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Under the Muslims it remained a Christian church, unlike many other churches, which suffered destruction or conversion into mosques. The early Muslim rulers protected the city's Christian sites, prohibiting their destruction and their use as living quarters, but after a riot in 966, where the doors and roof were burnt, the original building was completely destroyed on [[October 18]], 1009, by the "mad" Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who hacked out the church's foundations down to bedrock. The east and west walls and the roof of the Edicule were destroyed or damaged (contemporary accounts vary), but the north and south walls were likely protected by rubble from further damage.
However, after a peace treaty between the Byzantine emperor [[w:Romanos III|Romanos III]] and the caliphate, the church was gradually rebuilt between 1024 and 1048. In 1048, a series of small chapels
was erected on the site by [[Constantine IX Monomachos]] under stringent conditions imposed by the caliphate. The rebuilt sites were taken by the knights of the [[First Crusade]] on [[July 15]], 1099. Crusader chief Godfrey of Bouillon, who became the first "king of Jerusalem," decided not to use the title "king" during his lifetime, and declared himself ''Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri'', "Protector (or Defender) of the Holy Sepulchre." The chronicler William of Tyre reports on the reconstruction. The Crusaders began to renovate the church in a Romanesque style and added a bell tower. These renovations which unified the holy sites were completed during the reign of Queen Melisende 50 years later in 1149. The church was also the site of the kingdom's scriptorium. The church was an inspiration for churches in Europe like Santa Gerusalemme in Bologna and the "Round Church" of Cambridge, England.
After defeating the
crusadors, [[w:Saladin|Saladin]] brings down the Cross and turns the church into a mosque (1187 -1190 ). After an agreement with the Byzantine emperor [[W:Isaac II Angelos|Isaac II Angelos]], Saladin gives the church back to the christians; by 1390 a number of new repairs are made to the church.
Until the [[w:Fall of Constantinople|fall of Constantinople]] in 1453, the
orthodox patriarchs kept the keys of the church. This law, by Patriarch Dorotheos, was renewed by Sultan [[w:Suleiman the magnificent|Suleiman]] in 1517. With the new law of Suleiman, they keys were given to a Muslim family in 1545. During this period the canopy of the Holy Sepulchre is also repaired.
In 1545 Patriarch Germanos
adds a small dome to the church and the Franciscan monks renovated it further in 1555, as it had been neglected despite increased numbers of pilgrims. During 1719-1720 the church is reparied further by the orthodox and also the Catholics.
In 1808, the Armenians set the church on fire, which severely damaged the structure, causing the dome of the
Rotunda to collapse and smashing the Edicule's exterior decoration. The Rotunda and the Edicule's exterior were rebuilt in 1809 and 1810 by collections of the orthodox people world wide and especially from the Greek architect [[W:Komnenos|Komnenos]] Mitilineos.
In 1834 and 1836, two earthquakes
damage the church. The repairs from this damage begin in 1867-1869 after a great delay but the temple dome is finally renovated through the assistance of the Russians, the French and the Turkish. The 1808 fire did not reach the interior of the Edicule, and the marble decoration of the Tomb dates mainly to the 1555 restoration. The current dome dates from 1870.
In more recent times, the small dome was destroyed in 1927
from an earthquake and the situation was disappointing. In 1931-33 the church was rebuilt through the financial assistance of the Greek State. In 1948 the big dome of the Church is hit and is repaired within the same year. By 1958, after an agreement of the three churches of Kerusalem (the Greeks, the Armenians and the Catholics), extensive modern renovations begin, including a rebuilding of the big dome (1978-1985) and a redecoration of the big dome (1994-1997). In 1995 the exterior of the dome of the Katholikon is repaired with copper and restoration works continue until this present time.
Several Christian communions
cooperate (sometimes acrimoniously) in the administration and maintenance of the church and its grounds, under a fiat of ''status quo'' that was issued by the Sublime Porte in 1852, to end the violent local bickering. The three, first appointed when Crusaders held Jerusalem, are the [[Orthodox Church|Orthodox]], the [[Church of Armenia|Armenian Apostolic]] and [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] churches. These remain the primary custodians of the church. In the 19th century, the [[Church of Alexandria (Coptic)|Coptic Orthodox]], the [[Church of Ethiopia|Ethiopian Orthodox]] and the [[Church of Antioch (Jacobite)|Syrian Orthodox]] acquired lesser responsibilities, which include shrines and other structures within and around the building. An agreement regulates times and places of worship for each communion. For centuries, two neutral neighbour Muslim families appointed by Saladin, the Nuseibeh and Joudeh families, were the custodians of the key to the single door.
When a fire broke out in 1840, dozens of pilgrims were trampled to death. On June 20, 1999, all the Christian communions who share control agreed in a decision to install a new exit door in the church.
==Current configuration of the Holy Sepulchre==
[[Image:Tomb of Christ.jpg|right|thumb|350px|The Tomb of [[Jesus Christ]]]]
In the center of the Holy Sepulchre Church, underneath the largest dome (recently renovated), lays the Holy Sepulchre itself. This temple is used by all the [[Orthodox Church|Greeks]], [[Roman Catholic Church|Latins]] and [[Oriental Orthodox|Oriental Orthodox]]. It is a red granite edifice, with a large number of giant candlesticks in the front of it. The Armenians, the Latins and the Greeks all serve Liturgy or Mass daily inside the Holy Sepulchre. It is used for the Holy Saturday ceremony of the [[Holy Fire]], which is celebrated by the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. To its rear, within an ironwork cage-like structure, lies the altar used by the Coptic Orthodox. Past that, inside a rear, very rough
hewned chapel, the [[Church of Antioch (Jacobite)|Syriac Orthodox]] celebrate their [[liturgy| liturgies]] on Sundays. To the right of the sepulchre is the Roman Catholic area, which consists of a large square chapel and another private chapel for the Franciscan monks. Immediately in the front of the Sepulchre is what would be the main area of the church for the congregation, which has been walled off and used by the Orthodox. It features a large [[iconostasis]], and two thrones for the superior and the [[Patriarch]]. Past that, there is the entrance area, which features the stone of annointing which Jesus' dead body is believed to have been prepared for burial upon. Up the stairs to the right of that area, is the most lavishly decorated part of the church, the chapel where Jesus is believed to have been crucified. This area is run by the Orthodox, while the Roman Catholics have an altar to the side. Additionally, there is a subterranean chapel which is run by the Armenians, which commemorates the finding of the [[True Cross]].
In the 19th century, a number of scholars disputed the identification of the church with the actual site of Jesus's crucifixion and burial. They reasoned that the Church was inside the city walls, while early accounts (''e.g.'', [[Epistle to the Hebrews|Hebrews]] 13:12) described these events as outside the city walls. On the morning after his arrival in Jerusalem, Charles George Gordon selected a rock-cut tomb in a cultivated area outside the walls as a more likely site for the burial of Jesus. This site is usually referred to as the Garden Tomb to distinguish it from the Holy Sepulchre.
However, the city walls
had been expanded by Herod Agrippa in 41-44 and only then enclosed the site of the Holy Sepulchre. To quote the Israeli scholar Dan Bahat, former City Archaeologist of Jerusalem:
:"We may not be absolutely certain that the site of the Holy Sepulchre Church is the site of Jesus' burial, but we have no other site that can lay a claim nearly as weighty, and we really have no reason to reject the authenticity of the site." (1986)
==Layout of the Church of the Resurrection==
'''The Holy Entrance''' is the door into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There is a secondary door built into this main door, which is sealed. They keys for the door are kept by a Muslim family, established in 1520 AD by the Sultan Suleiman. A ritual ceremony has been handed down, involving the opening and closing of the church every day since then. The doors are surrounded by 3 marble columns either side. In 1549, the left marble column was torn when the Holy Light came through it instead of coming from the Tomb of Christ inside the church; that year, sultan Murat had forbiden Partiarch Sofronios IV to go into the church to celebrate the ceremony of the Resurrection, at the request of the Armenian patriarch. Sofronion, the clergy and all the faithful stood outside the main doors and prayed and chanted the service - the Armenian patriarch left embarrassed and the sultan issued a firman that recognised the authority of the Greek Orthodox patriarchate of Jerusalem.
[Matthew 27: 57-59] and [John 19:39-40].
Immediately upon entering the Church of the Resurrection lies the '''Stone of the Unction'''. This is the spot which commemorates the preparation of the body of Christ for burial by [[Joseph of Arimathea]] and [[Nicodemus]], after he was removed from the cross. Christ's body was
annointed with myrrh and aloes and wrapped in a clean linen cloth for the burial. The current slab, is made from limestone marble and dates to 1808, replacing the previous 12th century slab when it was destroyed. The ownership of the slab is shared between the four main Christian churches. Over the marble slab hang large opulent lamps that have been donated by the Armenians, Greeks, Copts and Latins. On the outside wall of the Catholicon, behind the stone, is a large mosaic depicting the annointing of Christ for burial.