From this position the Tomb of Christ can be seen a stone edicule (“little house”) encloses the sepulchre where it is believed Jesus lay buried for three days — and where he rose from the dead. The lofty circular stone structure encompassing this whole area is known as the Rotunda. Click on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for more.
Above it is a huge dome decorated with a star burst of light. Opposite the entrance to the Tomb, a triumphal arch built by the Crusaders leads to the basilica’s central worship space, the Katholikon. Originally the choir of the 12th-century Crusader church, it is now the Greek Orthodox cathedral.
A highly decorated screen called the iconostasis partially hides the altar from view. On the polished marble floor stands a goblet marking the “omphalos” (navel), the legendary center of the earth.
There are thrones for the patriarch of Jerusalem and the patriarch of Antioch.
- Administered by:
- Confraternity of the Holy Sepulchre (Greek Orthodox)
- Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land (Catholic)
- Brotherhood of St James (Armenian Orthodox)
- Tel.: 972-2-6267000
- Opens: Apr-Sep 4am, Oct-Mar 5am.
- Closes: Apr-Aug 8pm, Mar and Sep 7.30pm, Oct-Feb 7pm.
- Sunday morning liturgies are usually:
- Coptic 4am
- Catholic 5.30am
- Greek Orthodox 7am
- Syriac Orthodox 8am
- Armenian Orthodox 8.45am on alternating Sundays with a weekly procession at 4.15pm.