Church of the Holy Sepulchre

A walk of faith

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Workmen make repairs to the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The dome on the left marks the traditional location of Christ’s burial and resurrection. The dome on the right (with the golden cross) marks the traditional location of Christ’s crucifixion.

Seeing a human up there gives scale to the golden cross. I didn’t know it was that big

Climbing that scaffolding is in itself an act of faith.


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If you are interested in capturing a bird’s eye view to the land of the Bible you should consider joining one of our trips scheduled for 2020 or 2021. These educational experiences operate as part of the ministry of the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies. Find a trip that works with your schedule by clicking the link here or contact me directly at markziese@gmail.com.

You will never forget it

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How many times have you stood on this scalloped overlook? One? One-hundred? Does it really matter?

The view is pressed into your memory even as the limestone blocks are pressed into the summit of the Mount of Olives. This is special place for the veteran or for the newbie traveler. From here the spectacle of the Old City of Jerusalem unfolds.

You see Jewish, Christian, and Muslim tombs underfoot. Suleiman’s city wall sweeps through the middle of the vista. The platform of Herod’s temple (I call it “Temple 2.5”) rises over previous versions and is, in turn, topped today a golden dome. A new “Mt Zion” looms on the horizon.

Less obvious (for older eyes) is the “Stepped Stone Structure” of the City of David, the Rockefeller Museum, the steeple of the the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, and, of course, the steely grey caps marking the place where Jesus died and rose again: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

It is a snapshot of no less than three thousand years of history. From this place you can see it. And feel it.

How many times have you stood on this scalloped overlook?

Our thanks to Bible Land Explorer Melinda Lee who stood here and took this picture less than two weeks ago.


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A few seats have opened up on our Johnson University Study-Tour to Israel-Palestine slated for March 12-23, 2019. If you are interested in being a part of this high-energy student trip, contact me immediately at markziese@gmail.com. Don’t hesitate. Our roster must be finalized by mid-December. Academic credit is available.

Waiting their turn

Believers stand in line to enter the "edicule," the centerpiece of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The oldest traditions identify this spot as ground zero for the Christian faith. Here, Jesus was buried and resurrected from the dead. As entry into the edicule is limited, the wait can be long. Guides work hard to keep their groups focused and together.

Resurrection Day!

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Easter is remembered around the world as the day of God's victory over sin and death. In Jerusalem, worshippers gather before the Edicule (Latin for "little house," or "chapel"), the 19th c structure marking the empty tomb of Christ. Pictured here is an Easter Sunday service of Armenian believers.

An anointed place

The memory walk known as the "Stations of the Cross" concludes inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Here, according to tradition, Jesus was taken from the cross and buried. Station Thirteen, the "Stone of Unction," is tied to the memory of the place where Jesus' body was prepared for the tomb. Christian pilgrims come here, not just on Easter, but on everyday of the year to to see, touch, and weep at the stone. 

Two domes

Two grey domes rise in the middle of daily life in Jerusalem's Christian Quarter. They are a part of a complex known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The smaller dome rises above the place marking the crucifixion of Christ. The larger rises above the place marking his empty tomb. Worship has been happening here for nearly two thousand years; the original structure was consecrated in AD 335. 

The preoperative condition

The small kiosk (or the edicule, as it is known) was erected over the empty tomb of Jesus in 1810. It is the central feature of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Recent renovations have stabilized (and freshened) the modern structure so that the iron supports seen in this 2011 photograph are no longer necessary. The candles are gone too, incidentally.