Monday, April 24, 2006

The Holy Tomb of Jesus Christ

Every year, Orthodox Christians gather in Jerusalem at the Church of the Resurrection, also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, on Pascha (Easter) to celebrate the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.

According to Eusebius, the Emperor Hadrian had covered up the Holy Sepulchre (Tomb) with dirt and built upon it a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess, Venus. When the Emperor Constantine ascended to the throne of the Roman Empire, his devout Christian mother, Helena, traveled to Jerusalem. She found the place of Christ's Crucifixion and the Holy Sepulchre. When Helena found these holy places, Constantine built a church at the site. The Holy Sepulchre itself is enclosed in a structure called an edicule inside the rotunda of the church.

The annual Paschal celebration at the Holy Sepulchre includes the Ceremony of the Holy Light (or Holy Fire). Only the Orthodox Patriarch of the Church of Jerusalem possesses the honor of receiving the miraculously appearing Holy Light from the Tomb. Information on the Holy Light and photos are available from the website of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. An article by Niels Christian Hvidt on the Holy Fire is available at the Orthodox Christian Information Center ( is a website dedicated specifically to the miracle. An article from the Russian News & Information Agency confirming the descent of Holy Fire on the Holy Sepulchre last year (2005) is available on the SpiritHit News site ( A great photo of the event accompanies the article.

"Come ye take light from the Light that is never overtaken by night. Come glorify the Christ, risen from the dead."

Copyright © 2006 by Dana S. Kees. (Photo from the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands, available at Used by permission.)