How is it that so many Christians are unaware of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre? I don't really have an answer to that, but I'm positive many do not know what it is or that it exists!
How would you feel if I said you could walk up to Calvary and see the spot where Jesus' cross went into the ground? What if I told you that you could then walk a short distance to the tomb where Jesus was laid to rest? Now how would you feel if you found out that they were in such close proximity to each other that it is all enclosed by a massive church? That's right - The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is alive and well in Jerusalem.
|A birdseye view of the Church|
I think when I first found this bit of information out, my mind was blown! I guess that I figured you could maybe go to the approximate spot where Christ was crucified, but the actual tomb? And it's all under the same roof? Now what about the actual stone where Jesus was laid to be prepared for burial, immediately after death? That's right you can see that stone. And it too is under the same roof! This is the stone our Lord's body was laid upon and was prepared for burial. Surely, Our Lady touched this stone as well? How many of her tears fell here?
|The actual stone!|
Remember the wealthy man Joseph of Arimathea who requested Jesus' body? He felt it should be properly prepared for burial, and he felt Jesus should be laid to rest in his (Joseph's) own tomb.
"And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus." Mark 15:42-43
|Holy Saturday at the tomb of Jesus|
Here is a photo of the entrance to the tomb of Jesus. Can you imagine being in there? Can you imagine what you would feel?
"Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid." John 19:41
|All awesomeness right there!|
I think it is a bit shocking to find out for the first time it is all under the same roof. The distance from the cross to the grave was not a huge one. Perhaps, he could have seen the tomb from the cross? What would Jesus have seen from his view? He would have seen the people down below him jeering him. He would have seen the Roman guards completely at ease with what was going on - casting lots for his garments. He would have seen his beloved apostle John, Mary Magdalene, and his mother, the Virgin Mary, there at the foot of the cross crying... praying.
|Mosaic inside the church|
You can go there to Jerusalem and see this all. It's definitely on my bucket list! I might add that if you are thinking of going on a pilgrimage, look into going on one with Steve Ray or Fr. Mitch Pacwa. I've always said that when I get the time and money, I would only go on their tours. Steve Ray is a Catholic convert and apologist. He gives tours to the Holy Land year round. His pilgrimages always look like such fun!!! He usually posts multiple videos from his tours. Here is the LINK to his website. Fr. Pacwa is a host of multiple shows on EWTN. He is a Jesuit priest and accomplished scholar. Here is the LINK to his events page. It looks like he'll be giving a tour to the Holy Land this upcoming Christmas!
Here are two parting photos showing the floor plan of the church as well as a drawing depicting how the church is built on the actual sites.
God bless! ~+Katherine