A Church Like No Other

Article by: unknown author

Sat December 08, 2012 | 00:00 AM


This was the fourth visit of my life to the Old City, but, for some reason, one of the most historic places in Christian history never quite got my attention in past visits. This time I marvelled at everything about this place: the reverence people pay it, the story behind what happened on this land, the spectacular architecture, and the fact that it’s almost hidden off a side street of the Old City.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre bears little if any resemblance to the churches most visitors know from home. And that is the best reason to visit it. A pagan shrine used to be here and then Constantine built this church here in the fourth century to commemorate both where Christ was hung on a cross (the lower picture) as well as where his resurrection occurred. The upper picture just shows the level of ornamentation throughout.

As you enter, there is a stone slab where tradition says the body of Jesus was prepared for burial, and where you may see pious Orthodox and Catholic Christians praying fervently. Visitors are moved by the beautiful mosaic behind the stone, which shows with sadness and hope the moments when Jesus is taken down from the cross and laid in the tomb.

I’ve strayed from my Christian roots in the pupu platter of spirituaity available in the San Francisco Bay Area. But, it’s hard to dismiss the grandeur of the story and the habitat that this famous church provides to remind one of the miracle of Jesus Christ.