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Church of the Holy Sepulchre

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Templar
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« on: May 16, 2007, 04:50:16 am »



Main Entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, called the Church of the Resurrection (Greek: Ναός της Αναστάσεως, Naos tis Anastaseos; Georgian: Agdgomis Tadzari; Armenian: Surp Harutyun) by Eastern Christians, is a Christian church now within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. The ground on which the church rests is venerated by most Christians as Golgotha[1], the Hill of Calvary, where the New Testament describes that Jesus was crucified[2]. It also is said to contain the place where Jesus was reportedly buried (the sepulchre). The church has been an important pilgrimage destination since the 4th century. Today it serves as the headquarters of the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Catholic Archpriest of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.

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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2007, 04:52:43 am »



The Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre (The Tomb of Christ) with the dome of the rotunda visible above.

History

Eusebius describes in his Life of Constantine [1] how the site of the Holy Sepulchre, originally a site of veneration for the Christian community in Jerusalem, had been covered with earth and a temple of Venus had been built on top. Although Eusebius does not say as much, this would probably have been done as part of Hadrian's reconstruction of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina in 135, following the destruction of the Jewish Revolt of 70 and Bar Kokhba's revolt of 132135. Emperor Constantine I ordered in about 325/326 that the site be uncovered, and instructed Saint Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem, to build a church on the site. Pilgrim of Bordeaux reports in 333: There, at present, by the command of the Emperor Constantine, has been built a basilica, that is to say, a church of wondrous beauty (page 594). Socrates Scholasticus (born c. 380), in his Ecclesiastical History, gives a full description of the discovery [2] (that was repeated later by Sozomen and by Theodoret) that emphasizes the role played in the excavations and construction by Constantine's mother Saint Helena, to whom is also credited the rediscovery of the True Cross. Helena had been directed by her son to build churches upon sites which commemorated the life of Jesus Christ, so the Church of the Holy Sepulchre commemorated the end of the life of Jesus, just as the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (also founded by Constantine and Helena) commemorated its beginning.

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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2007, 04:56:40 am »

Constantine's church was built beside 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 Helena and Macarius had identified as the burial site of Jesus. The surrounding rock was cut away, and the Tomb was encased in a structure called the the Kouvouklion (Greek: cubicle) or Edicule (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 Khosrau II invaded Jerusalem and captured the Cross. In 630, Emperor Heraclius 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. 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, when 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 Edicule and the east and west walls and the roof of the cut-rock tomb it encased were destroyed or damaged (contemporary accounts vary), but the north and south walls were likely protected by rubble from further damage.

European reaction was far-reaching, and often irrational. For example, Clunaic monk Raoul Glaber blamed the Jews, with the result that Jews were expelled from Limoges and other French towns. Ultimately, this destruction provided an impetus to the later Crusades.

A series of small chapels was erected on the site by Constantine IX Monomachos in 1048 under stringent conditions imposed by the caliphate. The rebuilt sites were taken by the knights of the First Crusade on July 15, 1099. The First Crusade was envisioned as an armed pilgrimage, and no crusader could consider his journey complete unless he had prayed as a pilgrim at the Holy Sepulchre. Crusader chief Godfrey of Bouillon, who became the first crusader monarch 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 in the mid-12th century, when the crusaders began to renovate the church in a Romanesque style and added a bell tower. These renovations unified the holy sites and were completed during the reign of Queen Melisende in 1149. The church became the seat of the first Latin Patriarchs, and was also the site of the kingdom's scriptorium. The church was lost to Saladin, along with the rest of the city, in 1187, although the treaty established after the Third Crusade allowed for Christian pilgrims to visit the site. Emperor Frederick II regained the city and the church by treaty in the 13th century, while he himself was under a ban of excommunication, leading to the curious result of the holiest church in Christianity being laid under interdict. Both city and church were captured by the Khwarezmians in 1244.

The Franciscan friars renovated it further in 1555, as it had been neglected despite increased numbers of pilgrims. A fire severely damaged the structure again in 1808, causing the dome of the Rotonda to collapse and smashing the Edicule's exterior decoration. The Rotunda and the Edicule's exterior were rebuilt in 18091810 by architect Komminos of Mytilene in the then current Ottoman Baroque style. The 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. Extensive modern renovations began in 1959, including a restoration of the dome from 19941997. The cladding of red marble applied to the Edicule by Komminos has deteriorated badly and is detaching from the underlying structure; since 1947 it has been held in place with an exterior scaffolding of iron girders installed by the British Mandate. No plans have been agreed upon for its renovation.

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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2007, 05:00:11 am »

Status quo

Since the renovation of 1555, control of the church oscillated between the Franciscans and the Orthodox, depending on which community could obtain a favorable firman from the Sublime Porte at a particular time, often through outright bribery, and violent clashes were not uncommon. In 1767, weary of the squabbling, the Porte issued a firman that divided the church among the claimants. This was confirmed in 1852 with another firman that made the arrangement permanent, establishing a status quo of territorial division among the communities.

 

The immovable ladder. Detail from photograph of main entrance above, taken in 2005.
 


The ladder in 1892.

The primary custodians are the Greek Orthodox, the Armenian Apostolic and Roman Catholic churches. In the 19th century, the Coptic Orthodox, the Ethiopian Orthodox and the Syriac Orthodox acquired lesser responsibilities, which include shrines and other structures within and around the building. Times and places of worship for each community are strictly regulated in common areas.

Establishment of the status quo did not halt the violence, which continues to break out every so often even in modern times. On a hot summer day in 2002, the Coptic monk who is stationed on the roof to express Coptic claims to the Ethiopian territory there moved his chair from its agreed spot into the shade. This was interpreted as a hostile move by the Ethiopians, and eleven were hospitalized after the resulting fracas.[3]

In another incident in 2004 during Orthodox celebrations of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a door to the Franciscan chapel was left open. This was taken as a sign of disrespect by the Orthodox and a fistfight broke out. Some people were arrested, but no one was seriously injured.[4]

Under the status quo, no part of what is designated as common territory may be so much as rearranged without consent from all communities. This often leads to the neglect of badly needed repairs when the communities cannot come to an agreement among themselves about the final shape of a project. Just such a disagreement has delayed the renovation of the edicule, where the need is now dire but where also any change in the structure might result in a change to the status quo disagreeable to one or more of the communities.

A less grave sign of this state of affairs is located on a window ledge over the church's entrance. A wooden ladder was placed there sometime before 1852, when the status quo defined both the doors and the window ledges as common ground. The ladder remains there to this day, in almost exactly the same position it can be seen to occupy in century-old photographs and engravings.

None of the communities controls the main entrance. In 1192, Saladin assigned responsibility for it to two neighboring Muslim families. The Joudeh were entrusted with the key, and the Nuseibeh were given the task of keeping the door. This arrangement has persisted into modern times. Twice each day, a Joudeh family member brings the key to the door, which is locked and unlocked by a Nuseibeh.

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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2007, 05:01:52 am »



The Stone of the Anointing, believed to be the place where Jesus' body was prepared for burial. It is the 13th Station of the Cross.
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2007, 05:03:56 am »

Modern arrangement of the church
 


Floor plan sketch.

Floor plan sketch.The entrance to the church is through a single door in the south transept. This narrow way of access to such a large structure has proven to be hazardous at times. For example, when a fire broke out in 1840, dozens of pilgrims were trampled to death. In 1999 the communities agreed to install a new exit door in the church, but there was never any report of this door being completed.

Just inside the entrance is the Stone of Anointing, believed to be the spot where Jesus' body was prepared for burial. To the left, or west, is the Rotunda of the Anastasis beneath the larger of the church's two domes, in the center of which is the Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre itself. Under the status quo the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian Apostolic Churches all have rights to the interior of the tomb, and all three communities celebrate the Divine Liturgy or Mass there daily. It is also used for other ceremonies on special occasions, such as the Holy Saturday ceremony of the Holy Fire celebrated by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. To its rear, within a chapel constructed of iron latticework upon a stone base semicircular in plan, lies the altar used by the Coptic Orthodox. Beyond that to the rear of the Rotunda is a very rough hewn chapel believed to be the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea in which the Syriac Orthodox celebrate their Liturgy on Sundays. To the right of the sepulchre on the southeastern side of the Rotunda is the Chapel of the Apparition which is reserved for Roman Catholic use.

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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2007, 05:05:58 am »



One of the altars at Calvary.

On the east side opposite the Rotunda is the Crusader structure housing the main altar of the Church, today the Greek Orthodox catholicon. The second, smaller dome sits directly over the center of the transept crossing of the choir where the compas, an omphalos once thought to be the center of the world, is situated. East of this is a large iconostasis demarcating the Greek Orthodox sanctuary before which is set the Patriarchal throne and a throne for visiting episcopal celebrants. On the south side of the altar via the ambulatory is a stairway climbing to the Chapel of Calvary, or Golgotha, believed to be the site of Jesus' crucifixion and the most lavishly decorated part of the church. The main altar there belongs to the Greek Orthodox, while the Roman Catholics have an altar to the side. Further to the east in the ambulatory are the stairs descending to the Chapel of St. Helena, belonging to the Armenians. From there, another set of stairs leads down to the Roman Catholic Chapel of the Invention of the Holy Cross, believed to be the place where the True Cross was found.

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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2007, 05:09:04 am »



Floor plan of the site in the 4th Century

Authenticity

From the time of its original construction in 335, and through its numerous renovations, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre has been venerated as the authentic site of Jesus's crucifixion and burial.

As noted above, both Eusebius and Socrates Scholasticus record that the tomb of Jesus was originally a site of veneration for the Christian community in Jerusalem and its location remembered by that community even when the site was covered by Hadrian's temple. Eusebius in particular notes that the uncovering of the tomb "afforded to all who came to witness the sight, a clear and visible proof of the wonders of which that spot had once been the scene" (Life of Constantine, Chapter XXVIII [5]).

Archaeologist Martin Biddle of Oxford University has theorized that this "clear and visible proof" might have been a graffito to the effect of "This is the Tomb of Christ", scratched in the rock by Christian pilgrims before the construction of the Roman temple. Similar ancient graffiti are still visible in the Catacombs of Rome, indicating the tombs of especially venerated saints.

In the nineteenth 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., Hebrews 13:12) described these events as outside the walls. On the morning after his arrival in Jerusalem, General 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, and it is still a popular pilgrimage site for those (usually Protestants) who doubt the authenticity of the Anastasis and/or do not have permission to hold services in the Church itself.

However, it has since been determined that the site was indeed outside the city walls at the time of the crucifixion. The Jerusalem city walls were expanded by Herod Agrippa in 4144, and only then enclosed the site of the Holy Sepulchre, at which time the surrounding garden mentioned in the Bible would have been built up as well. 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." (Bahat, 1986)
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2007, 05:11:55 am »

Order of the Holy Sepulchre



Arms of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre

The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is a Roman Catholic chivalric order of Knighthood that traces its roots to Godfrey of Bouillon, principal leader of the First Crusade. According to reliable sources in the Vatican and Jerusalem, it began in historical reality as a mixed clerical and lay confraternity (association) of pilgrims which gradually grew around the most central of the Christian holy places in the Middle East, the Holy Sepulchre or the tomb of Jesus Christ.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 05:15:04 am by Templar » Report Spam   Logged
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2007, 05:14:10 am »



The Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre walk in a procession at the First Annual Southeastern Eucharistic Congress in Charlotte, NC.

Origin

Pilgrimages to the Holy Land were a common if dangerous practice from shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus to throughout the Middle Ages. Numerous detailed commentaries have survived as evidence of this early Christian devotional. While there were many places the pious visited during their travels, the one most cherished was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, first constructed by Constantine the Great in the fourth century AD. A local tradition, begun long before the Crusades, provided for the bestowing of knighthood upon qualified men whose presence, character and devotion were deemed worthy of enoblement by those entrusted to the care of the church. Later, this duty was assumed by the Kings of Jerusalem, then the Canons of the Holy Sepulchre, and today it falls upon the Patriarch of Jerusalem.

By the eleventh century, however, political and military events had led to a suppression of this activity by Muslim rulers, in addition to persecution of local Christians and destruction of some of the sites themselves.

As it was for the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre that the First Crusade was organized, so for its defence were certain military orders instituted. While not one of the original surviving Orders given a charter by Papal decree, the practice of bestowing knighthood at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre nevertheless became part of this mediaeval military movement toward reinstating a Christian presence in the Holy Land.

In 1099, Godfrey of Bouillon took no other title than that of "Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre", and other Latin princes, Bohemond I of Antioch and Tancred, Prince of Galilee, bound themselves as vassals of the Holy Sepulchre as they would to a king. The ultimate fall of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem to the Muslims in 1291 did not suspend pilgrimages to the Tomb of Christ, or the custom of receiving knighthood there, and when the custody of the Holy Land was entrusted to the Franciscan Order, they continued this pious custom and gave the order its first Grand Master after the death of the last King of Jerusalem. The kings had reserved that dignity to themselves previously.


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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2007, 05:15:35 am »

The official arrival of the Franciscan Friars Minor in Syria dates from the Bull addressed by Pope Gregory IX to the clergy of Palestine in 1230, charging them to welcome the Friars Minor, and to allow them to preach to the faithful and hold oratories and cemeteries of their own. In the ten years' truce of 1229 concluded between Frederick II of Sicily and the sultan Al-Kamil, the Franciscans were permitted to enter Jerusalem, but they were also the first victims of the violent invasion of the Khwarezmians in 1244. Nevertheless, the Franciscan province of Syria continued to exist, with Acre as its seat.

The monks quickly resumed possession of their convent of Mount Sion at Jerusalem. The Turks tolerated the veneration paid to the tomb of Christ and derived revenue from the taxes levied upon pilgrims. In 1342, in his Bull Gratiam agimus, Pope Clement VI officially committed the care of the Holy Land to the Franciscans. (The restoration of a Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem by Pius IX in 1847 superseded the Franciscans.) Consequently, as early as 1336, the Franciscans were enrolling applicants among the lay confraternity of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, in ceremonies frequently mentioned in the itineraries of pilgrims.

In the early stages of development, the confraternity was not an order composed of religious, since it had no monastic rule, and until 1847, no regular organization, nor community of goods. It is possible that where mention is made of the "possessions of the Holy Sepulchre", the allusion is to the Canons of the Holy Sepulchre who had convents in various lands, and not to the knights. By the time of Franciscan control, however, the Order's character as a confraternity was well established, based on centuries of church tradition and papal recognition.

Those pilgrims deemed worthy of the honor were received into this confraternity with an elaborate ceremonial of ancient chivalry, although, in the early years, fundamental rules of the institution were not always observed. In point of fact all classes of society were represented in these pilgrimages. In the ceremonial of reception, the role of the clergy was limited to the benedictio militis, the dubbing with the sword being reserved to a professional knight, since the carrying of the sword was incompatible with the sacerdotal character.

From 1480 to 1495, there was in Jerusalem a German knight, John of Prussia, who acted as steward for the convent and regularly discharged this act reserved to knighthood. It was also of frequent occurrence that a foreign knight, present among the crowds of pilgrims, would assist at this ceremony. However, in default of other assistance, it was the superior who had to act instead of a knight, although such a course was deemed irregular, It was since then also that the superior of the convent assumed the title of Grand Master, a title which has been acknowledged by various pontifical diplomas, and finally by a Bull of Benedict XIV dated 1746.

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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2007, 05:17:15 am »

Papal establishment
When Pius IX re-established a Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1847, he transferred to it the office of Grand Master of the Order. At the same time he drew up and in 1868 published the new statutes of the order, which created the three ranks:

Grand Cross
Commander
Knight
In 1932, a fourth rank, Commander "with star", was established.


Pius X ordained that the Order's surcoat be a "white cloak with the cross of Jerusalem in red enamel", and regulated the chancellor's fees. Pius X assumed the title of Grand Master, delegating his powers to the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem. The title of Grand Master is now held by a cardinal of the Roman Curia who is resident in Rome at the Palazzo del Rovere, a fifteenth century structure immediately adjacent to the Vatican which serves as the order's international headquarters.

In ecclesiastical heraldry, the Order of the Holy Sepulchre is one of only two Orders whose insignia may be displayed in a clerical coat of arms. (Laypersons have no such restriction.) Knights and Ladies of the order display their arms in the badge of the order, while Knights and Ladies of the rank Grand Cross surround their shield with a ribbon. Other ranks place the appropriate ribbon below the shield and may also display the red Jerusalem cross behind their shield.

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