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The Shepherd's Guild

The Holy Land - Jerusalem


    + Latin calvary

... and he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha (John 19:17). ... and when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him ... (Luke 23:33).
... and they crucified him ... (Matthew 27:35)
Adjacent to this chapel is the second room—the Greek Orthodox Calvary—the spot where Christ was crucified and covers the actual Rock of Golgotha. For the other Christian Churches this is also known as Station 12 of the Via Dolorosa. The entire rock can be seen through the glass covering on either side of the altar, and beneath the altar is a small opening that allows pilgrims to touch the rock.

+ The chapel of Adam is located immediately beneath Golgotha. This is a small area of worship that used to be known as the "Area of the Skull" and also the chapel of "Melchizedek." In accordance with tradition, the name of 'skull' and 'Adam' is derived from the fact that this is the spot where they found the skull and relics of Adam. The theology of the Orthodox Church believes that this location is not a coincidence since the purpose of the crucifixion is directly connected to the story of Adam and his expulsion from Eden. Having found the bones of Adam underneath Golgotha symbolises the cleansing of the bones of the man who committed the first sin by the blood of Christ dripping down from the cross.
  • The Chapel of the Crowning of the Thorns or "Derision" (Greek) is located at the base of Golgotha, immediately to the right. There is a small fragment of the column, brought from the Prison of Christ, where the soldiers put on Christ a purple robe and a crown of thorns (cf. John 19:2).
  • The Chapel of St. Helen, also known to the Armenians as the Armenian Chapel of St. Gregory, is located at the base of the 29 stairs near the Crowning of the Thorns. Inside the chapel is her throne and the pilgrim of the good thief; an large area has been preserved that has the original mosaic from the church.
  • The Chapel of St. Vartan (Armenian) can be accessed through a door on the north side of the Chapel of St. Helen. In the 1970s, this area was discovered and excavated and the findings include remnants of walls built by Hadrian in the second century. One of these walls has a stone etched with a merchant ship and an inscription "DOMINE IVIMVS" which translates "Lord, we shall go." It is estimated that this stone dates from before the completion of the Byantine church, ca. 330 AD. This chapel is locked and not normally available to the public.
  • The Chapel of the Finding of the Cross, according to tradition, is the area where St. Helen discovered the True Cross during the course of the Church's excavations around 330 AD. She discovered three crosses. To discern which of the three crosses belonged to Christ, and which belonged to the thieves, a sick man was brought to touch each one in turn. He was miraculously healed by only one and this is the one that has since been distributed to all Christian Patriarchates across the world.
  • The Chapel of the Division of the Robe (Armenian)
John 19:24
  • The Chapel of the Division of the Robe is the location at which the soldiers parted His raiment amongst themselves and casted lots for his vesture (cf. John 19:24).
  • The Chapel of St. Longinus' (Greek) is dedicated to Longinus the Centurion (October 16), a Roman soldier who served in Judea under the command of the governor, and headed the group of soldiers escorting Christ to Golgotha (cf. Matthew 27:54).
  • The Prison of Christ is a small dark area where those crucifying Christ put him temporarily before crucifying him.
  • The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene
... and Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus beheld where he was laid (Mark 15:47).
On the north side of the Rotunda, there is a small Franciscan chapel called "Mi mou aptou" ("Touch me not") dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. In accordance with the tradition, Mary of Magdala accompanied Jesus on his way to the cross and burial and the circular marble plaque that is at this spot marks the location where she and Mary beheld where he was laid but also the spot where Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection (cf. John 20:11-17). This chapel belongs to the Catholic Church and is named "Mi mou aptou," in honour of Christ's words.
  • The Syrian chapel is located on the east end of the Church of the Sepulchre. This area was used for burials in Christ's time.
  • The "Catholicon" is the main Orthodox church facing the Tomb of Christ. It is a large rectangular building with a basilica dome. In the middle of the church is the "navel of the earth" which symbolises the spiritual centre of the Earth (cf. Ezekiel 38:12). The church has two Patriarchal thrones: the left throne is for the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and the throne on the right is for the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.
  • The small Coptic chapel is located on the west side of the "edicule" with a separate entrance to the chapel.
  • The Chapel of the Angel is immediately outside the Tomb of Christ; the first room inside the "edicule." According to tradition, the altar that is in this room contains a stone which is part of a larger stone that was rolled away from Christ's tomb on the day of the resurrection. On this stone is an imprint of a hand; it is believed to be the imprint of one of the angels who sat on the stone and announced the resurrection. There is always a Greek monk in this room who "guards" the Tomb of Christ and who symbolically represents this angel. (source: OrthodoxWiki)

+ Stone of Anointing - Just inside the entrance is The Stone of Anointing, also known as The Stone of Unction, which tradition claims to be the spot where Jesus' body was prepared for burial by Joseph of Arimathea. However, this tradition is only attested since the crusader era, and the present stone was only added in the 1810 reconstruction.[21] The wall behind the stone was a temporary addition to support the arch above it, which had been weakened after the damage in the 1808 fire; the wall blocks the view of the rotunda, sits on top of the graves of four 12th-century kings, and is no longer structurally necessary. There is a difference of opinion as to whether it is the 13th Station of the Cross, which others identify as the lowering of Jesus from the cross and locate between the 11th and 12th station up on Calvary. The lamps that hang over the stone are contributed by Armenians, Copts, Greeks and Latins.

+ Rotunda and Aedicule  -   The Aedicule The
Rotunda is located in the centre of the Anastasis, beneath the larger of the church's two domes. In the center of the Rotunda is the chapel called the Aedicule, which contains the Holy Sepulchre itself. The Aedicule has two rooms, the first holding the Angel's Stone, which is believed to be a fragment of the large stone that sealed the tomb; the second is the tomb itself. Due to the fact that pilgrims lay their hands on the tomb, it was placed in the fourteenth century a marble plaque on the tomb to prevent further damage to the tomb.

Under the status quo, the
Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian Apostolic Churches all have rights to the interior of the tomb, and all three communities celebrate the Divine Liturgy or Holy Mass there daily. It is also used for other ceremonies on special occasions, such as the Holy Saturday ceremony of the Holy Fire led by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch.To its rear, within a chapel constructed of iron latticework upon a stone base semicircular in plan, lies the altar used by the Coptic Orthodox. Historically, the Georgians also retained the key to the Aedicule.

Beyond that to the rear of the Rotunda is a rough-hewn chapel containing an opening to a chamber cut from the rock, from which several kokh-tombs radiate. Although this space was discovered recently,[when?] and contains no identifying marks, many Christians believe[vague] it to be the tomb of
Joseph of Arimathea, and it is where the Syriac Orthodox celebrate their Liturgy on Sundays. To the right of the Sepulchre on the southeastern edge of the Rotunda is the Chapel of the Apparition, which is reserved for Roman Catholic use.

Catholicon and Ambulatory -   The "
Christ Pantocrator" mosaic in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Cross of Golgotha The omphalos and the north wall of the Catholicon  
  • The Catholicon – On the east side opposite the Rotunda is the Crusader structure housing the main altar of the Church, today the Greek Orthodox catholicon. The second, smaller dome sits directly over the centre of the transept crossing of the choir where the compas, an omphalos once thought to be the center of the world (associated to the site of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection), is situated. Since 1996 this dome is topped by the monumental Golgotha Crucifix which the Greek Patriarch Diodoros I of Jerusalem consecrated. It was at the initiative of Prof. Gustav Kühnel to erect a new crucifix at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem that would not only be worthy of the singularity of the site, but that would also become a symbol of the efforts of unity in the community of Christian faith.[33]
Further to the east in the ambulatory are three chapels (from south to north):

  • Greek Chapel of St. Longinus – The Orthodox Greek chapel is dedicated to St. Longinus, a Roman soldier who according the New Testament pierced Jesus with a spear.
  • Armenian Chapel of Division of Robes –
  • Greek Chapel of the Derision – the southernmost chapel in the ambulatory.

  • The Western Wall (Ha-Kotel Ha-Ma'aravi) in Jerusalem is the holiest of Jewish sites, sacred because it is a remnant of the Herodian retaining wall that once enclosed and supported the Second Temple. It has also been called the "Wailing Wall" by European observers because for centuries Jews have gathered here to lament the loss of their temple.
The Western Wall Plaza, the large open area that faces the Western Wall, functions as an open-air synagogue that can accommodate tens of thousands of worshipers. Prayers take place here day and night, and special services are held here as well.

History of Western Wall The Western Wall was built by King Herod in 20 BC during his expansion of the Temple enclosure, and is part of a retaining wall that enclosed the western part of Temple Mount. According to the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus, construction of the walls took 11 years, during which time it rained in Jerusalem only at night so as not to interfere with the workers' progress.

In 70 AD, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple. During the Ottoman Period (beginning in the 16th century), the wall became the Jews' chief place of pilgrimage, where they came to lament the destruction of the Temple.

For centuries, the Western Wall was located in a narrow alley just 12 feet wide that could accommodate only a few hundred densely packed worshipers. But in 1967, immediately after the Six Day War, Israelis leveled the neighboring Arab district to create the Western Wall Plaza, which can accommodate tens of thousands of pilgrims.

At the same time, the Israelis made the wall about 6 1/2 feet higher by digging down and exposing two more tiers of ashlars (squared stones) from the Temple Plaza's retaining wall that had been buried by accumulated debris for centuries.

According to local tradition, it was on this spot, near the site of the Last Supper, that the Blessed Virgin Mary died, or at least ended her worldly existence. In Orthodoxy and Catholicism, as in the language of scripture, death is often called a "sleeping" or "falling asleep", and this gave the original monastery its name, the church itself is called Basilica of the Assumption (or Dormition). In the Catholic dogma of the Assumption of Mary, Christ's mother was taken body and soul to heaven.

The architect and buildings manager of the
Diocese of Cologne, Heinrich Renard (1868–1928), investigated the site in 1899 and discovered the remains of the Byzantine church of "Hagia Sion" and also of other churches. Connected with this is the thesis of Bargil Pixner of a pre-Crusader Church of Zion. Direction of construction was entrusted to the architect Theodor Sandel, a member of the Temple Society and a resident of Jerusalem. The foundation stone was laid on 7 October 1900. Construction was completed in only ten years; the basilica was dedicated on 10 April 1910 by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.

The church is dedicated to Mary Magdalene, a follower of Jesus. According to the sixteenth chapter of the gospel of Mark, Mary Magdalene was the first to see Christ after his resurrection. (Mark 16:9) She is considered a crucial and important disciple of Jesus, and seemingly his primary female associate, along with Mary of Bethany, whom some believe to have been the same woman.[1]

The church was built in 1886 by Tsar Alexander III to honor his mother, Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. It was constructed to David Grimm's design in the traditional tented roof style popular in 16th- and 17th-century Russia, and includes seven distinctive, gilded onion domes. The convent is located directly across the Kidron Valley from the Temple Mount.

Two martyred saints,
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia and her fellow nun Varvara Yakovleva, are buried in the church.[2]

In the 1930s, Princess Alice of Battenberg, mother of the Duke of Edinburgh, visited the church and asked to be buried near her aunt, the Grand-Duchess Elizabeth. In 1969, she died at Buckingham Palace. In 1988, her remains were transferred to a crypt below the church.[3]

  • Church of the Pater Noster, Jerusalem  - Named for the "Our Father" prayer (Latin: Pater Noster), the Church of the Pater Noster stands on the traditional site in Jerusalem where Jesus taught his disciples the Lord's Prayer. Emperor Constantine built a church over a cave here in 4th century, and this has been partially reconstructed. Plaques in the cloister bear the Lord's Prayer in 62 different languages.

In the Bible One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Our Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'" - Luke 11:1-4 History of the Church of the Pater Noster The Gospel account provides almost no information on the location of Jesus' teaching of the Lord's Prayer, also known as the "Our Father." The 3rd-century Acts of John (ch. 97) mentions the existence of a cave on the Mount of Olives associated with the teaching of Jesus, but not specifically the Lord's Prayer.

The church historian Eusebius (260-340) recorded that Constantine built a church over a cave on the Mount of Olives that had been linked with the Ascension. (Other Constantinian churches built over a cave are the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.) The church was built under the direction of Constantine's mother St. Helen in the early 4th century and was seen by the Bordeaux pilgrim in 333. The pilgrim Egeria (384) was the first to refer to this church as Eleona, meaning "of olives."

When the site for the veneration of Christ's ascension had been moved up the hill (see
Chapel of the Ascension), this cave became exclusively associated with Jesus' teachings on the conflict between good and evil (Matt 24:1-26:2). Here Egeria heard this Gospel passage read on Tuesday of Holy Week.

Like many buildings in Jerusalem, the Constantinian church suffered destruction by the Persians in 614. The memory of Jesus' teaching remained associated with this site, but the content of that teaching shifted from good and evil to the Our Father prayer. This new identification was based on a clever harmonization of Luke 10:38-11:4 with Mark 11:12-25 (the withered fig tree).

When the Crusaders arrived, the site was associated specifically with the Lord's Prayer. They constructed a small oratory amidst the ruins in 1106, and a church was rebuilt in 1152 thanks to the funds of the Bishop of Denmark, who was buried in it with his butler. 12th-century pilgrims mention seeing marble plaques with the Lord's Prayer inscribed in Hebrew and Greek at the church. Excavations have uncovered an inscribed Latin version.

The Crusader-era church was damaged in 1187 and destroyed by 1345. In 1851 the remaining stones of the 4th-century church were being sold to Jews for tombstones in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

The site was finally rescued by the Princesse de la Tour d'Auvergne, who bought the land and began a search for the cave. In 1868 she built a cloister modeled on the Campo Santo at Pisa and founded a Carmelite convent to the east in 1872.

In 1910, the Byzantine foundations over the cave were found partly beneath the cloister. The cloister was moved and the Byzantine church began to be reconstructed in 1915. The project is still unfinished.

Bethany, in the
Bible, was the name of a village near Jerusalem—see Bethany (Biblical village)—mentioned in the New Testament as the home of the siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and, according to the Gospel of John, the site of a miracle in which Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. This village is commonly identified with the present-day West Bank city of al-Eizariya ("place of Lazarus"), located about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east of Jerusalem on the south-eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. During the Crusades, al-Eizariya was still referred to as Bethany by Christians.

Raising of Lazarus episode, shortly before Jesus enters Jerusalem for the last time, takes place in Bethany.[1] Bethany near the River Jordan in John 1:28 might refer to a town further north in Perea, i.e. Bethabara; or it might refer to the more northerly territory of Batanaea.

In the winter, temperatures in Bethany can drop below zero, but summer sees temperatures as high as 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit). Many places are named for the biblical village of Bethany. Bethany is also used as a female given name. It is of Aramaic origin, and means "house of dates".

Bethphage (Aramaic בית פגי, lit. "House of un-ripe figs") or Bethsphage [1] is a Christian religious site in Israel.

Bethphage is mentioned in the New Testament as the place in ancient Israel from which Jesus sent his disciples to find a donkey and a colt, upon which he would ride into Jerusalem. The synoptic gospels mention it [2] as being close to Bethany.[3][4] Bethphage is about 2 km from the modern village of al-Eizariya.

Unknown villagers living there (the owners of the colt according to Luke's Gospel [5]) permitted Jesus' disciples to take the colt away for Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. There is an annual Palm Sunday walk into Jerusalem which begins here.

sources: OrthodoxWiki, Wikipedia, "Sacred Destinations"and travel sites


The Aedicule, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem  (photo: Noam Chen)

The Church of All Nations, Mount of Olives, Jerusalem - Latin

Greek Orthodox Church at Bethphage