An ancient church located in the Old City of Jerusalem. First built around the year 335, it was burned by Persians in 614, restored 10 years later, destroyed again by the local caliph in the 11th century, restored again by crusaders in the 12th century, and generally remodelled since that time until 1810. It was undergoing some additional retrofitting when I saw it in 1998. People care about this church because it is supposedly located on the spot where Jesus was buried and resurrected, although this is under debate.

Services are performed here by the Greek, Roman, Armenian, and Coptic churches, who control various parts. Visitors here can get away with a lot of stuff not usually tolerated, such as flash photography.

Thanks to for the information that was not personal experience

The principal structure of the church is an octangular building, which was built by Crusaders (there are no significant remains of previous buildings). Echoes of this form can be found in many parts of England as Norman round churches (e.g. the Round Church in Cambridge, near Trinity College).

But the (Ethiopian) Copts were there before the Crusaders! And they had a church, which the crusaders "rebuilt" into their own structure. So the Copts got pushed up to the rooftop. Today there is still a small Coptic monastery on the roof of the Holy Sepulchre, built with very African-looking mud huts. They also have a small church inside the main structure, near the roof and their monastery.

It used to be that the Coptic monks would let you descend from their monastery to the main building, via their church. Nowadays there are just too many visitors, and I don't think they allow it to most people.

An Accord signed in Vienna towards the end of the 19th century fixed property rights of the imperial powers in Jerusalem. Part of the accord divided up the church between the factions. Every chapel, room, church, floor, wall or ceiling in the structure belongs to one of the churches! In one memorable case, a lightbulb burnt out, but couldn't be replaced since the ceiling (and hence the lightbulb) belonged to one church, while the floor (on which the ladder would have to rest) belonged to another. Eventually the commander of police in Jerusalem held protracted negotiations with the heads of the churches, while his deputy pushed in a ladder and replaced the bulb. (This should be probably be understood as having taken place with the tacit consent of all present; the end result was the replacement of the bulb, without any of the sides' rights being diluted).

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.