The Church of the Holy Sepulchre Re-Visited

Sunday 6th July 2014

This morning I again made an early start and climbed up the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Even though I had no “booking”, I again approached the Franciscan sacristan and he was as obliging as he had been yesterday. Today he accommodated me at the Our Lady Altar. It is on Calvary and is the small altar situated between the Nailing to the Cross, the Eleventh Station of the Cross (where I celebrated yesterday) and the site of the Crucifixion (Twelfth Station of the Cross, under the management of the Greek Orthodox).

Our Lady of Sorrows Altar, Calvary, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Our Lady of Sorrows Altar, Calvary, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre


The site is the Thirteenth Station of the Cross. It commemorates the deposition, the dead body of Christ being taken down from the cross and laid in the arms of his grieving mother. It is called “Our Lady of Sorrows” (La Donna de Dolorosa), or Mater Dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows). The most famous artistic presentation of this tragic scene is probably Michelangelo’s statue of the Pieta in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Our Lady of Sorrows Altar, Calvary, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Our Lady of Sorrows Altar, Calvary, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre


I again offered the Eucharist for family, friends, relatives, confreres and colleagues.

After the Mass, for the first of the several times that I have visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the queue for visiting the Tomb where Jesus was buried and where he was raised from the dead was relatively short, the Franciscans having just finished the Sunday Morning Mass. So I joined the queue and had a few moments kneeling at the marble slab inside the tomb.

Inside the tomb of the Holy Sepulchre that commemorates the place where it is said that Jesus was buried and raised from the dead.

Inside the tomb of the Holy Sepulchre that commemorates the place where it is said that Jesus was buried and raised from the dead.


It was a few moments only. The space is small. Only four people at a time can get in. They have to turn around and come out the same way before others can go in. So in fairness to all, that each have a few moments at this sacred site, the turn over is fairly rapid!

I realised this morning that the metal barriers they use inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for organising people in orderly queues are the same as those that the police use for crowd control and checkpoints, a sort of moveable panel for a makeshift sheep-yard – which, on reflection, is probably appropriate, for the crucified and risen Lord is the Good Shepherd Who laid down His life for His sheep and we are His flock!!

Shalom, Peace, Salaam!!!

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2 thoughts on “The Church of the Holy Sepulchre Re-Visited

  1. Judith en Riens

    Dear Patrick,

    Through other pilgrims from the Via de la Plata we obtained the adress from your blog. We are the two dutch pilgrims who walked the Camino too and we met you around Caceras. We love your blog! The stories are very interesting and the pictures are wonderful.
    We wish you a good time in the Holy Land and all the best for your coming travels!

    Greetings from the Netherlands,

    Judith and Riens

    Reply
    1. Patrick McInerney Post author

      Dear Judith and Riens,
      Thank you for your note. Good to hear from you. Glad you like the blog! I have only one more night in Jerusalem before going to Amman and then flying to Australia. So the days of sabbatical are quickly coming to an end and I will be back at work! However, the past few months are a well of rich and varied experiences from which I will continue to draw. The stories and pictures on the blog will remind me of the people, times and places. Thanks for sharing the journey. Wishing you all the best.
      Shalom, Peace and Salaam [the Arabic word for “peace”] from Jerusalem!!!
      Patrick

      Reply

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