France: The Treasures of the Holy Sepulchre at the palace of Versailles

Source: FSSPX News

Great chalice offered by Philip II of Spain in silver.

From April 16 to July 14, 2013, the palace of Versailles is holding an exhibit of 250 masterpieces from the Treasure of the Holy Sepulchre. The exhibit is called “Treasures of the Holy Sepulchre: gifts of European royalty to Jerusalem.” The sumptuous gifts were made to the Guardians of the Holy Land from the early 17thcentury onwards by major European rulers. They are exhibited to the public in the palace’s Crusade rooms, where the painted décor has just been restored.

The gifts were originally intended to increase the splendor of the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and that of the basilicas of Bethlehem and Nazareth, and they came from the French court, from the Holy Roman Emperor, from Portugal, from Spain and from Genoa. “So Louis XIV had sumptuous gold- and silver-work sent. In 1686, the Most Serene Republic of Genoa sent one of the most extraordinary liturgical vestments, embroidered with multicoloured silks. Spain deployed splendid gifts of which the most impressive was a solid piece of wrought gold that may be considered peerless in the world.” The visitor can also admire there the sword and spurs of Godfrey de Bouillon, gold and silver sanctuary lamps, silver-gilt candelabras, liturgical vessels set with enameled jewels and precious stones, crosiers and processional crosses, as well as vestments made of brocade and silk ciselé velvet. The exhibit is open Tuesdays through Sundays, from 9 am to 6:30 pm (latest entry 6 pm).

The basilica of the Holy Sepulchre is called in Greek anastasis, basilica of the Resurrection. It was built on the place of the death, burial and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by the emperor Constantine in the 4th century. Near the basilica a garden was laid out on the land of Calvary, the rock of Golgotha where Jesus was crucified, and a dome built over the tomb where Our Lord was laid after His descent from the Cross. (Sources: the Palace of Versailles – DICI no. 275, 17/05/13)