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657
SEPULCHRE, THE HOLY


had retired to the city of Pella, east of Jordan, and the date of their return to Jerusalem is uncertain. Whether any of the disciples returned after the triumph of the Romans and recognized the tomb of Christ is matter of conjecture.

Among the temples built by Hadrian about A.D. 135 was one dedicated to Aphrodite or Venus; it was erected at that place where the church of the Holy Sepulchre now stands, but it is impossible to say whether it was purposely so placed because it was the site of the tomb of the Lord, or whether the selection of this position was accidental. The extent of the walls of Aelia Capitolina is not known with any accuracy, but it is probable that the northern wall followed the same line as the present north wall of Jerusalem, and therefore that the site of-the temple of Aphrodite was then within the walls. Although it is doubtful whether the Christians returned to Jerusalem immediately after the destruction of the city by Titus, they were certainly thefe when Hadrian built Aelia Capitolina; according to Epiphanius, they had a small place of worship on Sion at the place where Jesus Christ ate the Last Supper. Eusebius also states that the Christians worshipped at the Mount of Olives where Jesus instructed His disciples, but no writer up to the time of Constantine speaks of the tomb, or of worship being performed there.

Constantine the Great became emperor of Rome in A.D. 306, and was converted to Christianity six years afterwards. Embracing his new religion with enthusiasm he attributed his victories to the power of the Divine Cross, which was placed on the ensigns of the army. After the great council of the Church had been held at Nicaea in A.D. 325, the emperor decided to End the sites of the crucifixion and resurrection at Jerusalem, and to build a church at this place. Full descriptions of the discovery of the Holy Sepulchre and of the churches that were built are given by Eusebius in his Life of Constantine, but it is difficult to say from his account if the main object of Constantine was to find the sepulchre of the Lord or the cross upon which He suffered. Eusebius does not mention the cross directly and lays more stress on the recovery of the sepulchre; whereas later writers imply that the great wish of the emperor and of his mother Helena, who visited Jerusalem for the purpose, was to find the Holy Cross. The task of searching for the tomb and the cross was entrusted to Bishop Macarius. Whether the bishop was guided in his selection of the site by tradition or not is difficult to say, but he decided that the desired place was under Hadrian's temple of Aphrodite. By imperial order the temple was removed, and a rock-cut Jewish tomb, which lay below, was identified as the sepulchre of the Lord. In another cavity in the rock, 280 ft. to the east, three crosses were discovered, which were assumed to be the crosses upon which Jesus Christ and the two thieves were crucified, the cross of Jesus being identified by its power of healing the sick. Immediat°ely on the receipt of the intelligence of this remarkable discovery, the emperor wrote to Macarius, ordering the erection of magnificent buildings on the site. Two churches were built, one over the tomb, and the second, which was larger and grander, over the place where the crosses had been found. Between the two churches was a small hill, which was identified as Mount Golgotha. The ground surrounding the two churches was levelled and surrounded with porticoes or colonnades. The description of the buildings as detailed by Eusebius is rather obscure, but fortunately there still exists, in the church of Santa Pudenziana at Rome, a mosaic, supposed to have been originally executed in the 4th or 5th century, which shows the buildings clearly. The church of the Anastasis or Holy Sepulchre is herein delineated as a round church with a domed roof; the church of the Martyrion or Holy Cross, as a polygonal building, also with a domed roof; while between the'two churches is Mount Golgotha, with the cross erected upon it. In another ancient mosaic, which still exists in a church of Madeba, east of the Jordan, a map of Palestine is represented which contains a rough plan of the walls and gates of Jerusalem. In this plan, also, it is possible to recognize the churches built by Constantine. The Bordeaux pilgrim who visited Jerusalem about A.D. 333, when the church of the Holy Sepulchre was in course of construction, describes the place, which was evidently the same as that on which the existing church of the Holy Sepulchre stands. There can, therefore, be no reasonable doubt that the present site is that which was fixed upon by Bishop Macarius in the time of Constantine. The churches were completed about A.D. 336, and were doubtless visited by numbers of pilgrims. Among these a lady from the west of Europe, who is supposed to have been St Sylvia of Aquitania and who came to Jerusalem about A.D. 385, fortunately kept a diary of her travels, and she identifies very distinctly the great church of the Cross, the church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Mount Calvary between them. In A.D. 614 Jerusalem was captured by the Persians under Chosroes II., who did considerable damage to the churches, but they were repaired by Modestus after the defeat of the Persians by the emperor Heraclius. The caliph Omar, who captured the city in 636, behaved with leniency to the Christians, and left them in undisputed possession of the church of the Holy Sepulchre. In 1010 the third Fatimite caliph Hakim practically destroyed it. It is remarkable that from the beginning of the 8th century, while the church of the Holy Sepulchre is always mentioned in the accounts written by visitors to Jerusalem, the church of the Cross seems to have ceased to exist, although the place where the crosses were found was shown to pilgrims, and a church was built on Mount Calvary. After the capture of Jerusalem by the Crusaders in A.D. 1099, the church of the Holy Sepulchre was repaired and enlarged by the addition of a nave and chancel, and other churches were erected, so that the Holy Sepulchre became the centre of a group of ecclesiastical buildings and has so remained up to the present time.

The Authenticity of the Traditional Site.-From early times doubts have arisen as to whether the tomb discovered by Bishop Macarius was the veritable sepulchre. As early as 754, when the pilgrim Wildebald visited Jerusalem, he remarked, in describing the Holy Places, that “ Calvary was formerly outside the city, but that the Empress arranged that place so that it should be within the city Jerusalem.” Saewulf in 1 102, Wilbrand of Oldenburg in 1211, Jacques de Vitry in 1226, and Burchard of Mount Sion in 1283, had evidently some doubts about the site, and explained the difficulty by suggesting that Hadrianhad enclosed it within the walls but that it was outside before he rebuilt the city. Jacques le Saige in 1 518, Gretzer in 1598, and F. Quaresmius in 1639, also alluded to the difficulty felt by some in believing in the traditional site. Monconys in 1647 stated that Calvary was formerly outside Jerusalem, but that it was now in the centre of the city, which was smaller than at the time of the crucifixion. In 1738 Jonas Korte of Altona visited Jerusalem and published a book on his travels, in which he expressed the view that the Calvary shown to visitors could not be the true Calvary because it was in the middle of the town. He placed the true site to the west of Jerusalem, near the Birket Mamilla which lies é m. west of the Jaffa gate. This view was supported by J. F. Plessing in 1789. Dr E. Clarke in 1812 came to the conclusion that Calvary was outside the Sion gate, While Dr E. Robinson, who published his Biblical Researches in Palestine in 1841, expressed himself satisfied that the traditional site could not be the true one, but did not venture to suggest an alternative. In 1842 Otto Thenius asserted that the cruci-Hxion must have taken place on the north of Jerusalem on the rising ground outside the Damascus gate above the quarry known as Jeremiah's Grotto. Thenius considered that the Holy Sepulchre was on the west side of the hill, and his views were adopted by a number of later writers, including Canon Tristram, Dr Selah Merrill, Fisher Howe and General C. G. Gordon. Colonel C. R. Conder, R.E, , who carried out the survey of Palestine under the Palestine Exploration Fund, also adopted the same hill as the probable scene of the crucifixion, but considered that the tomb of Christ was an ancient rock-cut tomb, about 200 yds. west of Jeremiah's Grotto. Since General Gordon gave his opinion in favour of the site, it has been adopted by many, and the tomb in the face of the hill is sometimes called “ Gordon's Tomb of Christ ” or “ The Garden Tomb.” A careful

examination of the question, however, leads to the conclusion