After nine months of meticulous work, the restoration of the Holy Sepulcher has reached its final stages. The scaffoldings that were mounted around the edicule, have already been removed. An ecumenical celebration scheduled for March 22 will seal the conclusion of the renovation works.
It was a result of the joint decision of the Greek-Orthodox, the Catholic and the Armenian church.
Scientific coordinator of the restoration work
“At the beginning, it was hard, but now that we are on the last stage, we realize we have established a relationship of trust, not only between the three Christian communities, which from the beginning have agreed to carry out the restoration, but also with all the Israeli authorities to whom we had to report.”
During the various stages of the restoration, there were historic moments, including, first of all, the opening of the tomb of Jesus in October: first time in two hundred years, and third time in history.
“We discovered a marble layer under which there was another gray marble slab, covered with soil material. With the authorization of the three guardians of the three Christian communities, we removed this material. We just unveiled, without uncovering it, a carved rock that makes us realize that someone was buried here, that the Body of Christ was placed here.”
The scientific coordinator of the renovation works explains that the Holy Sepulcher is a living, religious monument in which people pray incessantly … Every year, the place where Jesus was buried is visited, in fact, by millions of pilgrims. Preserving it, therefore, is a challenge.
And for the experts involved, restoring such a sacred place was more than a professional experience.
“A great blessing, a great responsibility and a great challenge … we figured out a way to solve problems, to work and watch over everyone involved in the project. We were able to see a sepulcher full of expressiveness, we saw it with our heart and mind… It is something that we were actually able to feel when we opened the tomb. All the professionals involved, all of us … were able to feel it.”