Jerusalem: Scientists to enter into Christ’s Tomb
For the first time in 200 years, men are going to enter into Christ’s tomb. According to the Washington Post on June 22, 2016, monument restorers need to enter into the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in order to clean the layers of soot left by candles over the centuries. They will then put back and fasten the marble blocks of the aedicule and inject stabilizing mortar into the part of the masonry that dates from the times of the Crusades.
They will raise the slab at the heart of the edifice, on which millions of pilgrims have knelt and prayed, in order to enter into the tomb. They will be the first modern scientists to have access to this place, since the rotunda and the aedicule were rebuilt by Russia between 1809 and 1810 after a fire that ravaged the edifice.
The conservators, who already restored the Acropolis in Athens, first surveyed the chapel and the tomb with sonars and laser scanners. According to the American newspaper, they discovered a hitherto unknown fracture in the wall of the tomb, probably a result of the pressure from the columns that hold up one of the chapel’s domes.
During the renovation work that should last until the beginning of 2017, the holy place still remains open for worship and private devotions.
The work is financed by the three principal Christian confessions of the Holy Sepulcher: the Greek orthodox, the Catholic Franciscans and the Armenians. The rest of the costs are covered by public financing from the Greek government and by private benefactors, including King Abdallah II of Jordan.
(sources: apic/Washington post – DICI no. 338 July 1, 2016)