Holy Cross Day


Background information


The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem stands over the site identified from earliest Christian tradition as being the place where Jesus was crucified and buried. (1) Archaeological findings reveal that at the beginning of the first century AD, the site was a disused quarry outside the city walls.  Tombs were cut into the vertical west wall of the quarry.  On the east wall the quarrymen had cut around a mass of inferior cracked stone leaving it jutting out.  These facts show that the site is compatible with the details given in the Gospels.  First, Jesus was crucified at a place called the Skull (Golgotha) which suggests that the jutting out stone may have been in the shape of a skull.  Second, we know that near to Golgotha there was a grave.  Third, windblown soil and seeds would have created an environment in the disused quarry that could be called a garden. (2)

The area was brought within the city walls in 41-43 AD but was not built over and liturgical celebrations were held at the site until 66 AD. (3). That year marked the start of the Jewish Revolt, a Jewish uprising against the mighty Roman Empire.  After the Jewish Revolt was suppressed, the city was destroyed. (4)

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