Christian Site: The Church Of The Holy Sepulcher
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher – The Tomb of Jesus
In the year 326, Byzantine Queen Helena traveled to the Land of Israel to identify holy Christian sites. After finding Cavalry, the True Cross and the Holy Sepulcher under a pagan temple built by the Romans, she immediately razed the pagan shrines, leveled the rocks which surrounded them, and began construction of a magnificent Christian monument. By 335 a wondrous basilica – far larger and more grandiose than the contemporary church – encompassed the Holy Sepulcher, Calvary, and the cistern in which the pious queen had discovered a piece of the True Cross.
Little remains of the original basilica, destroyed by Persian invaders in 614. Thus on July 15, 1099, when the Crusaders first entered Jerusalem and rushed to the church, they found only the partial reconstruction carried out 50 years earlier by Byzantine emperor Monochamus. The Crusaders decided to unite all of the holy sites under one roof and erected the Romanesque church that stands here today.
Hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of visitors throng each day to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Indisputably the most dynamic church in the country, it comes alive with a profusion of languages, a variety of diverse apparel, and solemnly decorous religious ceremonies and processions.