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Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
October 4, 2010
From journal Biblical Study Trip in Israel
June 21, 2003
One thing to consider- if you were told to memorialize a field somewhere in middle America, what would you do?
From journal Jerusalem: Semester Abroad
May 7, 2003
From the outside, the Church is hardly impressive. It is squeezed in between a number of other buildings, and the entrance is hardly the grand entranceway that you find on the likes of the other great cathedrals of the world, but then again, that is where some of the charm lies. Immediately upon entering you are greeted by the supposed stone upon Jesus had his anointment before burial, actually you are first greeted by a man offering his services as a guide, but you can just move past him. Behind the stone lies a lovely fresco. Moving to the left of the stone you are greeted by the Armenian chapel and the Three Maries Altar. As you pass by the altar, the Church begins to open up and before you appears the Tomb Monument, the Tomb of Jesus. A giant ornate wooden kiosk in the middle of the Church houses the Tomb of Jesus, which you can enter, only four at a time, so you may have to wait your turn. The tomb is a surprisingly powerful place, surrounded by numerous benches upon which worshipers pray in silent and nuns are brought to tears. Moving on through the cavernous chapel you will pass by numerous naves and chapels built by various Christian sects. In the very back down a long set of candlelit stone stairs lies the Church of St. Helena and the Church of the Mocking, probably the most peaceful part of the complex, the perfect place for some self reflection. Heading back towards the entrance lies the most spectacular part of the Church, the Cavalry, an elevated platform that houses two chapels, the Chapel of Cavalry, which marks the spot where Jesus was nailed to the cross and the Greek Chapel, which marks the spot where he was crucified. These two chapels are by far the most spiritual part of the Church and are always filled with worshipers sitting in somber silence.
Is it a beautiful commemoration of the Christian faith or a monstrosity? You will have to decide for yourself, but you still cannot deny that the place does hold a certain religious aura that is both powerful and comforting.
From journal Jerusalem and the West Bank
London, United Kingdom
July 30, 2001
The small entrance conceals the true size of the church , and as you enter, the vast 11metre high Rotunda quickly absorbs you in it's spacious and cool atmosphere. Here you will find groups of pilgrims from around the globe creating a cacophony of prayers in numerous languages and of countless Christian denominations. But rather than the noise and bustle detracting, it adds to the Church's special atmosphere as the centre of Christendom. The religious conviction of the pilgrims who have made the journey here for thousands of years, often in the face of extreme hardship and danger, creates a thick air of spirituality which lingers like the incense and the echoes of pilgrims' prayers.
The Church, like many sites in Jerusalem is best appreciated after a number of visits at different times of day. Early in the morning, before the hoards arrive, you can find solace in the Church's quiet alcoves, and watch the beams of sunlight shine through the windows of the Rotunda, and strike the Holy Sepulchre itself in the middle. Later in the day, it best to move up to one of the balconies and watch the devotees as they make the final steps of their pilgrimage and finally rest with their heads against the stone of the Unction, in floods of tears. And in the evening too, the Church has its own distinct character as a weary host who must sleep so as to be fresh and ready for his guests the next day.
From journal Jerusalem, the golden city
, New Mexico
September 20, 2000
From journal Jerusalem: Where the Past Is Present