The Church of the Holy Sepulchre does not look anything like any Church that visitors will have been in before. This Church is where Orthodox and Catholic Christians mark Jesus' crucifixion and burial. Six different denominations celebrate their rites in this magnificently cavernous house of worship.
Historians say that the tomb of Jesus was destroyed in 1009 by the Muslim Caliph Hakim and it's remains were covered over by a structure called a Edicule that was built by the Russian Orthodox in the early nineteenth century when they were of particular influence in the church and country. Constantine built the first church here in the fourth century on top of a pagan shrine that had been built by Emperor Hadrian. The Emperor had used stones from the ruined Temple to build the altar that was to serve as a painful reminder for both Jews and Christians that the Romans were in control of their holy places.
The descent down a flight of stairs that bear the inscriptions of crosses that hundreds of pilgrims incised over the years inside the church leads to an Armenian Chapel deep underground. A stone slab that is rumored to have been the slab upon which Jesus was prepared for burial is also viewable. Two altars- one Greek Orthodox and one Catholic mark the site of crucifixion.
Visitors to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are able to explore the history of Christianity, as they step back in time to it’s very beginnings.