SEPTEMBER 2018

 Several days ago I visited Jerusalem. By the way, if you ever make up your mind to go to Israel, you should definitely visit five places: Dead Sea, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Jerusalem and "Bellboy Bar" where you can taste the most delicious cocktails in the whole world. 

I am going to tell you about the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or Church of the Resurrection which is one of the greatest Christian sanctuaries. It’s situated in the place where Jesus Christ was crucified and buried and later was resurrected, as it’s considered. This is the place where annually it is held the Holy Fire ceremony. During the long history of existence of Jerusalem, the church as well as the town was destroyed, restored, suffered from the fires, was rebuilt and expanded. Moreover, it was governed by Christian and then by Muslim. The form, in which it exists nowadays is the ’’version’’ of 1810, which was practically rebuilt after the devastating fire.


Well, the modern Church of the Holy Sepulchre is composed of Golgotha with the place of the crucifixion, rotunda with the giant dome, under which there is Kuvuklia (the chapel), Katholikon (the cathedral of Jerusalem Orthodox Church), the underground church of the Holy Cross, Chapel of Saint Helena. Besides, there are a couple of current monasteries, galleries etc. on the territory.

The entire territory of the holy site is strictly divided among six Christian denominations: Greek-Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian and Armenian.
While I was on the excursion, the tour guide who was passing by made me smile by saying the following words: Move it along! Get up the Golgotha! Everybody, let’s get up the Golgotha!

 

To tell the truth, I am not a fan of the excursions. I mean these ones, when you and the group of 197 persons are here and you are running after the flag in these idiotic earphones. That’s why I learn everything myself before visiting some new places.

 

So, let me continue… So the main place of the church is the chapel of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or Kuvuklia. There is a tomb in the rock - the Sepulchre, the greatest relic of the Christian world. The Sepulchre is the High Altar of the church. It’s forbidden to take photos inside and any attempts of taking an iphone in your arms and trying to make a shot will be probably noticed by the guards and they will be angry at you. This is exactly where the Holy Fire ceremony begins.

 

There are lots of people who want just to have one look and to touch the Holy of the Holies.
Here is a huge line which is moving very slowly and on holidays it becomes more and more numerous. Not so long ago we were waiting the same way in the queue to the mausoleum. The outlook is changing so rapidly.

 

Church of the Holy Sepulchre is so-called "multi-storey" complex, so some of its aisles and churches are located practically underground.
At present time Armenians own the underground chapel of Saint Helena. According to one version, they pursued it from the Orthodox Community, by other information – from Ethiopians.

 

The main place of worshipping is the church on Golgotha, where Jesus Christ was crucified.
And at this point things happened out of the plan. We got lost…and began walking wound and round. Isn’t it unexpected?

Without hesitation, we decided to walk through Arab market. When you are passing from one holy site to another in Old Jerusalem, anyway you will pass through market streets. You will be accompanied by the variety of goods and aroma of eastern spices all along the way. A while ago you were in the magnificent and silent atmosphere of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter or near the Wailing Wall and once you find yourself walking through real Oriental bazaar.

 

Jerusalem bazaar is something very special. Yes, of course, the goods are similar all over the world. But what about the faces, the personages, the characters! They are completely different, better to say, unique and authentic! People here are very expressive and bright.

 

Jerusalem has different faces, colors and voices. You can hear different accents here. This town can bring you from the West to the East and back. It can take you from the past to the future and from the present to the past. And just as rapidly – from the Christian church to noisy and crowdy oriental bazaar.