October 5, 2014
The amazing building of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher holds several holy sites second to none in the world. The former newsletters were dedicated for two of them, the stone of anointing and the Calvary. This newsletter will be dedicated to our lord Jesus tomb, may be the holiest of all places in the world.
Just after entering the spectacular building of the church and passing near the stone of anointing a magnificent round hall revealed to the eye of the visitor. This is the rotunda. The rotunda has a beautiful high dome with 12 apertures. One for each of the Apostles. Sometimes, watching the sun ray comes through the apertures lighting the rotunda and the tomb feels like a revelation. The dome was renovated for the new millennium and the visit of the pop at the year 2000.
In the center of the rotunda we find a smaller stone built structure called Edicule. The Edicula has two rooms, the first one is the Angel chapel which through it one can reach the room of the tomb itself. Where Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus after taking his body from the Romans
When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:
He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. (Matthew, 27, 57-60)
Passing the Angel chapel through a narrow low path one can enter the room where the tomb is. In this room we find the tomb surrounded with humble decoration and lamps that light 24 hours a day. The tomb itself is, of course, empty after the lord resurrection 3 days after the burial.
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
4And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? (Luke 24, 1-5)
A holy mass is being held every morning inside the Edicula and many believes gathering to participate the holy service.
From early morning a flow of believers stands in the long queue in front of the decorated entrance of the Edicula. Some of them are pilgrims from all over the world who saved cent by cent for many years just for this precise moment of seclude with the spirit of this unique place. Once they enter the room of the tomb it’s not rare to hear them whispering their special prayer and the tears on their cheeks are the testimony for the emotional storm that rocks them.
The external walls of the tomb hall are the preferred place in the church for placing and lighting candles. Many of the pilgrim’s lit many candle for their dear ones as they know they might not be able to reach this holy centre again.
The candles you ask us to light in your behalf, as well as the picture prayer request, are also being lit in the place designated for this purpose on those.