This is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is the most sacred Christian site in the world. Today it is located within the walls of the old city of Jerusalem in what is known as the Christian quarter. But during the time of Jesus, this site was outside the town’s walls and very likely a quarry, so it is a possible site for the crucifixion.
Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity in 312 AD, and soon after, his mother, Helena, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where tradition claims she found many Christian sites, including the place of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on the site she located. The name sepulchre means a chamber that is used as a grave. In the Bible book of John 19:41-42, it says that the tomb was close to the place of the Crucifixion, and so the church was planned to enclose the site of both the cross and the tomb.
The two holiest sites in Christianity are the place where Jesus was crucified called Calvary or Golgotha, and the empty tomb where Christians believe He was buried and resurrected.
As you step through the large double doors into the church, you turn to the right and climb a stone set of stairs, which leads to the place where the cross is said to have stood. It is also known as Calvary or Golgotha, the site of the crucifixion.
Then you descend the stairs to the back of the church to the marble slab, called the Stone of Anointing, believed to be where Jesus’ body was prepared for burial. This stone slab is revered by many Christians who believe it to be very holy.
Further inside the church is the burial cave for Jesus. It is very ornately decorated, and generally, there are long queues of pilgrims waiting to see the place where Jesus was buried.
The church of the Holy Sepulchre is the final stop on the Via Dolorosa or the way of the cross. It is a famous walk through the alleys of old Jerusalem that follows the way Jesus walked from where he was tried by Pilate, thought to be at the Ecce Homo Arch, to this site of the crucifixion.
To many, this is one of the holiest places in the world. There aren’t many places that can compare with the spirituality and the significance of the Holy Sepulchre to Christianity.