The Holy Sepulcher/ Things I Didn’t Quite Understand

We walked out of the hot, bright Israeli sun and were immediately surrounded by darkness, cool stone corridors, clouds of incense and candle smoke, richly colored paintings, haunting music, and hordes of crying pilgrims. There is something about this place that makes it one of the more emotionally charged places I’ve ever been.

As I entered the tomb where Christians believe Jesus’ physical body was laid to rest, I even found myself wiping away some tears. As a long time atheist, this makes no sense. I cannot explain why an emotionally saturated atmosphere would have caused a semi-religious experience in an absolutely not religious person. But I think it’s okay that there are still some things in this world that I don’t understand.

Here are a few photos from in and around the Church, for those who are interested. I feel privileged to have gotten to visit this important place.

The hot, dusty exterior of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. If you look closely at the top right window, you can see the immovable ladder. This has it’s own crazy story: According to tradition, it has been sitting in this spot since 1728 because someone accidentally left it there way back when and no object in this church can be moved without the agreement of 6 religious sects and, frankly, they can’t get it together. Google it if you don’t believe me. It’s a hoot.
Decorated dome.
The Stone of Anointing, where Jesus is said to have been anointed prior to the crucifixion.
This is the location where the cross is said to have been located at the time of the Crucifixion. In a very large coincidence, it is also the exact place of the burial of the skull of Adam. As In Adam and Eve.
A painting behind the stone of anointing. Notice the skull of Adam in the bottom of the photo.
A dome with a pinch of Rome.
Beautiful, immersive altars.