Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Tomb of Christ Reopened in Jerusalem

This morning, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, presided over the reopening of the shrine over the tomb of Christ within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, after many months of restoration work. (The shrine is known as the Aedicule, from the Latin “aediculum - a small building,” and is contained within a large rotunda which forms the back half of the church.) The Jerusalem Patriarchate has a fairly active Youtube channel, and just posted a video of the ceremony; after about 30 minutes of milling around, there is some nice music, and representatives of the various communities that use the church speak, including the superior (I assume) of the Holy Land Franciscans.

It is especially appropriate that this should take place this week, right after the Third Sunday of Lent, which the Byzantine Rite dedicates to the Veneration of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross. Here is a much more interesting video, excerpts of the Divine Liturgy celebrated by the Patriarch on Sunday at the Holy Sepulcher, with the participation of some of the other Orthodox churches. (The Gospel is sung in Greek, Old Church Slavonic, and Arabic.) Very splendid, although rather chaotic at times; there are a lot of bells ringing during the Gospel, and at times it seems that there are other liturgies going on in different parts of the building.

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