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A Bit Of History Short Stories The Middle East

A Ladder Sits At A Church Window

A Ladder At The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Located in the northwest quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem is a church erected on the most sacred site in Christianity. It sits against a hill known as Calvary or Golgotha where Jesus was crucified. Within the church dating back to the forth century is the tomb where Jesus was buried and resurrected.

A ladder at a second story window

The church was originally built by the mother of Emperor Constantine in 330 A.D., with current research confirming the Church is the most likely location of these events.

Historical records indicate that the site had become the focus of Christian pilgrimages as early as 90 AD. In 132 AD the Roman Emperor Hadrian had the site actually leveled and a temple to Venus erected in an effort to stop the Christians from using it. After the Empress Helena of the Roman Empire, and mother of Emperor Constantine the Great discovered the site Constantine had the Roman temple removed and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre built upon the spot.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Today the tomb itself is now enclosed by a 19th-century shrine called the Aedicula. The Status Quo, an understanding between numerous religious communities watching over the church dates back to 1757, and applies to everything involving the site.

A man working on the church in 1785 left behind a ladder outside a second story window. Because the members representing The Status Quo cannot agree on what to do about that ladder it still sits on its ledge today. Imagine how difficult it would be to accomplish anything important?

Another oddity about the church is that its doors are protected by two Muslim families. In 1192 after the Muslim Salah A-Din recaptured Jerusalem, he assigned the roll of opening the Doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to two Muslim families, the Nuseibeh as the Door Keeper and the Joudeh as the key keeper. Over more than 800 years now, every time the doors are opened a member of the Joudeh family brings the Key and a member of the Nuseibeh family uses the key and open the doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Just inside the entrance to the church is the Stone of Anointing or Unction, which tradition believes to be the spot where Jesus’ body was prepared for burial by Joseph of Arimathea. One of the rituals upon visiting the church is to lean in and touch the stone. Many people report a religious experience upon laying their hand upon the Stone of Anointing.

The Shrine and Vault inside Church of the Holy Sepulchre

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