Last year I posted about the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and its ongoing renovations. Time has worn the site, and during the repairs, archeologists scientifically dated the tomb. The results are eye-opening.
Over the centuries, Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre has suffered violent attacks, fires, and earthquakes. It was totally destroyed in 1009 and subsequently rebuilt, leading modern scholars to question whether it could possibly be the site identified as the burial place of Christ by a delegation sent from Rome some 17 centuries ago.
Now the results of scientific tests provided to National Geographic appear to confirm that the remains of a limestone cave enshrined within the church are remnants of the tomb located by the ancient Romans.
Mortar sampled from between the original limestone surface of the tomb and a marble slab cover has been dated to around A.D. 345. According to historical accounts, the tomb was discovered by the Romans and enshrined around 326.
Amazing. You can read the rest of the story at the link; it’s worth your time.
I have posted about the renovations to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre previously, partially because I am Roman Catholic, and partially because the event is so interesting. Now ever more so.
The tomb has been sealed in marble since at least 1555 – and possibly centuries longer – to protect it from pilgrims who kept stealing pieces as holy relics. Now the tomb’s marble lid has been removed for the first time in five centuries – revealing a miraculous discovery.
There, unseen for half a millennium, was the limestone shelf where Christ’s body is thought to have been placed.
The researchers also discovered a second grey marble slab no one knew existed, engraved with a cross they believe was carved in the 12th century by the Crusaders.
Archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert of National Geographic, which was a partner in the project, says: “This seems to be visible proof that the spot the pilgrims worship today really is the same tomb the Roman Emperor Constantine found in the 4th century and the Crusaders revered. It’s amazing.”
Astonishing. I went into the wrong business; archaeology is where it’s at.
The tomb of Jesus inside Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre will undergo renovations to save it from collapse. If there is a more interesting story this week, I have yet to find it.
Scaffolding has gone up a few feet from the shrine in the gloomy shadows of the Arches of the Virgin, the first step in a rare agreement by Christian communities to save the dilapidated shrine, also called the Aedicule, from falling down.
The idea is to peel away hundreds of years of the shrine’s history, clean it and put it back together. They will take apart, slab by slab, the ornate marble shell built in 1810, during Ottoman rule of Jerusalem. The conservationists will then tackle the remains of the 12th-century Crusader shrine that lies underneath.
Finally, the workers will repair cracks in the remains of the rock-hewed tomb underneath, where most Christians believe Jesus was placed after he was crucified.
It may also be a good idea to reinforce the structure, since those ISIS animals are keen on destroying ancient holy architecture.