According to traditions dating back at least to the 4th century, the two most sacred sites of Christianity are contained within the church: the place where Jesus of Nazareth was circumcised, presented to the temple, where he chased the moneychangers, and Was crucified, a place known as “Calvary” or “Golgotha”, and the empty tomb of Jesus, where it is said that he was buried and resurrected. The tomb is surrounded by the sanctuary of the eighteenth century, called the Edicule (Aediculum).
The last stations (Station 10, 11, 12 , 13, 14) of Via Dolorosa, that is to say the last steps on the painful path of Jesus, are contained on the site of the church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
The church has been a major destination of Christian pilgrimage since its creation in the fourth century, as the traditional site of the Resurrection of Christ, thus its original Greek name, the Church of Anastasis.
Today, the larger complex accumulated over the centuries around the Church of the Holy Sepulcher also serves as the seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, while the control of the church itself is shared among several Christian denominations And secular entities in complicated arrangements essentially unchanged for over 160 years, and some for much longer. The main denominations sharing the property on certain parts of the church are the Greek Orthodox, the Armenian Orthodox and Roman Catholics, and to a lesser extent the Copts, Syriacs and Ethiopian Egyptians. Meanwhile, Protestants, including Anglicans, have no permanent presence in the Church, and they generally prefer the Garden Tomb, elsewhere in Jerusalem, the true place of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Or at least a more evocative place to commemorate these events.
In the second century AD, according to Eusebius of Caesarea, the Roman emperor Hadrian built a temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite in order to bury the cave in which Jesus had been buried. The first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great, ordered the temple to be replaced by a church in 325/326.
During the construction of the church, Constantine’s mother, Helena, would have found the grave (although there are differences between the authors). Socrates Scholastica (born about 380), in his Ecclesiastical History, gives a complete description of the discovery.
The church of Constantine was built as two churches on the two different holy sites, including a large basilica, a colonnaded atrium included with the traditional Golgotha site.
According to tradition, in order to isolate the tomb, Constantine had arranged for the rocaille to be removed without harming it, in the center of the rotunda is a small building called Kouvouklion in Greek or Aedicula in Latin, which Contains this tomb. The remains are completely enveloped by a marble sheath placed 500 years ago to protect the edge of the Ottoman attacks. However, there are several thick window wells extending through the marble sheath, from the inside to the outside that are not clothed in marble. They seem to reveal an underlying limestone, which may be part of the original living rock of the tomb.
The church was built from 325/326 and was consecrated on 13 September 335. According to reports of pilgrimage, it seems that the chapel sheltering the tomb of Jesus was autonomous first and that the Rotunda was Erected around the chapel in the 380s.
Every year, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the anniversary of the consecration of the Church of the Resurrection (Sepulchre) on 13 September.
Discover this place in Virtual Reality 360° by clicking on the image below.