When it comes to significant landmarks of Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is possibly the most important of all. This church is unique for housing what is believed to be the original tomb of Jesus Christ. The Church is located at the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. It was built to house what was believed to be the sites of Christ’s crucifixion and burial. It is a magnificent landmark and provides both unique spiritual and historical significance. On your own Holyland tour, this church should certainly be at the top of your list.
Side note: Although the Church is most widely believed to be the accurate site of Christ’s burial and resurrection, there is another site debated to be the real location. The Garden Tomb is a beautiful site that some believe to be the real sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea. Whether or not it is the real site, the Tomb is incredibly well preserved and is one of the most visited places in Israel. For more information on the Garden Tomb, please see our Holyland tour blog on Places to visit on your trip to Jerusalem.
Origin of the Church
As for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it was originally constructed for the Roman goddess Venus. This was done as a way of suppressing early Christian movement in Rome. But when Constantine I (the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity) discovered the tomb inside the church, he ordered a Christian church reconstructed around the tomb.
Inside of the church is an aedicule (“little house”) that protects the tomb. Although the Church regularly features many people visiting on pilgrimage, the actual tomb itself has remained closed for centuries. However, recently archeologists have excavated the tomb, revealing the inside of it for the first time in centuries! Inside of the tomb is a rock slab, which is believed to be the one where Jesus laid. There was also a holy design of Jesus inscribed on the wall above the bed. But what was most surprising was what the sensors did not detect: underneath the tomb was rock debris, and another rock slab with a cross inscribed on it. It is currently being restored, and archeologists will be discovering important information soon.
However, for many believers, the real value of the tomb is not what they find inside, but what they don’t find. The foundation of the Christian faith is Christ’s resurrection, not his burial. The true value is the event, and not the objects surrounding the event. So whether or not you believe in the Resurrection, or what your stance on Religion is, it is an immensely valuable sight to behold.
Holyland Tour Options
For more information on visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, please be sure to see our Holyland tour options. These include our In the Footsteps of Our Lord Tour selection.