26 October 2009

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

I found this old never-posted bit from a couple of years ago about the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. And since I never wrote much more about any churches in Jerusalem, I at least need to post this about my favorite church there before some of my favorite people visit Jerusalem. I still need to do that post about church disgust, since the Holy Sepulchre is the perfect example of it.

I love to walk into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and see the Unction Stone kissed and rubbed smooth. I love to put my hands on the crosses scratched on the walls of the stairs leading down to St. Helena's Chapel. I love to see the variety of Christians from all over the world praying inside the walls of the church. I love the Rotunda. I was able to visit the church both before and after the reconstruction of the Rotunda. It was dark and almost dank in 1995, but in 1997 it was filled with light.

I love to remember the Holy Week I spent in Jerusalem, when I watched the Greek Orthodox patriarch wash the feet of some of his priests on Maundy Thursday. I followed the Stations of the Cross through Jerusalem on Friday and climbed the stairs to Calvary. I wish I could have gone to the Holy Fire ceremony on that Saturday, but we had church that day.

I'm fascinated by the history, even though it's a tragic one, of the church. I spent a semester at BYU reading the small collection of books in the library about the Church and getting a few others through ILL. But that history is getting better. The Rotunda was actually finished. The Armenians, Catholics, and Greek Orthodox often work together well now, although the Syrians, Ethiopians, and Copts don't.

Many Mormons who've been to Jerusalem to prefer the Garden Tomb. I can understand why. The way the Garden Tomb is maintained fits in much better with our religious tradition than the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Garden Tomb looks and feels right and is peaceful and quiet- not the way you'd always describe the Holy Sepulchre. But someday when I go back to Jerusalem the Holy Sepulchre will be the first place I want to go.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! This will make a great difference.