14 April 2016

A few centuries later, the Holy Sepulcher will be restored

In the month of May, after the Orthodox Easter, restoration work will begin in the tomb of Christ, in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher.


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The Holy Sepulcher in the Basilica of the Resurrection is the heart of Christianity in Jerusalem and the world. Every year, millions of pilgrims and tourists from various countries visit what is the most significant place for the Christian faith, where the body of Jesus was buried.

After many years without restoration, communities that oversee the custody of the Sepulcher announced that the tomb of Christ will be undergoing a renovation. However, the project should be limited to conservation work.

Franciscan Friar in charge of the Status Quo
"It will be a very conservative restoration: the shrine should remain as it is, the renovation will just make it more robust. However, the iron bars that hold up the shrine will be removed and the shrine will look better. There will be no new additions.”

Surrounded by a turkish style structure, the area stayed intact for several years, without being restored. Iron bars were attached to the structure to support it, but the site where Jesus’ body was placed remained untouched.

The tomb is part of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, which is under the administration of three Christian communities: the Greek-Orthodox, the Armenians and the Latins or Catholics, represented by the Franciscans. This historical organization results from an agreement that was signed in mid-nineteenth century, called "Status Quo".

Because of this agreement, a consent from of all three communities is required in order to do any modification to the Holy Sepulcher. Various parts of the church have already been restored, but when it came to the tomb of Christ, the three Christian communities consistently reached an impasse.

After years of negotiations, the communities finally reached an agreement and decided to begin the restoration.

Greek-Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
"The restoration is a very important step, especially from a technical point of view. The shrine has remained untouched for over 200 years. The Church of the Resurrection was destroyed, including the shrine. At the time, it was restored in a short time, a total of two years for the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the tomb of Christ. And since then there has not been any restoration.”

The long-awaited news about the restoration of the Holy Sepulcher were also approved by the pilgrims.
Brazilian Pilgrim
"It's a blessing: more people will have the chance to see and be blessed by this place and by what our Lord has done in our lives."

American Pilgrim
"I think the time has come and whatever is needed to make this place one of the best places to come to worship from all over the world, will be done."

The restoration work should last from eight months to a year and will be carried out by a technical team of the University of Athens, that will be followed by architects from the three different communities. Also during the restoration, the activities of the Basilica and the pilgrimages will continue as usual.

The beginning of the restoration work is planned for the first days of May, after the Orthodox Easter. What we all hope is to see more life risen from the tomb of Christ, a place that already carries a message of renewal.

Brazilian Pilgrim – Jundiaí Dioceses- SP
"Restructuring and restoration are important because we Christians have an increasingly need to appreciate our churches, our holy places, in order to feel the presence of God in our life.