A team of experts has begun a historic renovation at the spot where Christians believe Jesus was buried, overcoming longstanding religious rivalries to carry out the first repairs at the site in over 200 years.
The project, which began Monday, will focus on repairing, reinforcing and preserving the Edicule — the ancient chamber believed by many to house Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is the first such work at the tomb since 1810, when the shrine was restored and given its current shape following a fire.
An ornate structure with hanging oil lamps, columns and oversize candlesticks, the Edicule was erected above the spot where Christian tradition says Jesus’ body was anointed, wrapped in cloth and buried before his resurrection. It stands a few hundred meters (yards) from the site of Jesus’ crucifixion.
The church, characterized by stone staircases, dark chambers and golden decorations, is one of Christianity’s holiest shrines. But that hasn’t stopped clerics from engaging in turf rivalries over the years.
Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Armenians are responsible for maintaining separate sections of the church, and each denomination jealously guards its domain. While the clergymen who work and pray at the church generally get along, tensions can rise to the surface. In 2008, an argument between Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks erupted into a brawl.
This article continues at [Stream] In Sign of Unity, Christians Renovate Christ’s Tomb Together