It is not probable that any person whose opinion is worth expressing would now positively assert that the buildings which are known all the world over as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre do actually cover the spot where Jesus of Nazareth was buried. The line of the second wall of the city of Jerusalem is, indeed, still undetermined, 'refusing to be found' as Mr. Besant puts it — and so competent a judge as Consul Schick believes that that line, when it is recovered, will exclude those buildings from the city as it was at the beginning of our era — but it is at least extremely improbable that their site has any claims to authenticity, having been selected by mere chance by persons who knew, at all events, no more about the matter than we do. The tendency at present is altogether in favour of the localising of the sites of the crucifixion and the sepulchre to the north of the city outside the Damascus gate, near the spot known as Jeremiah's Grotto. But if on the ground of historical accuracy these buildings must cease to draw towards them the religious devotion of Christendom, they become scarcely less interesting to the historian and the archaeologist. Their rise and their fall have been for fifteen centuries epoch-marking events in history: they bring us face to face with the first Christian emperor of the Romans, the founder of the eastern empire; with the inroads of Chosroes, the Persian conqueror; with the rise of Mohammedanism; with Charlemagne, the first Teutonic emperor of the west; with the successive dynasties that have borne sway among the followers of the prophet; with the great crusading enterprises of the middle ages; with the quarrels of east and west for nearly a thousand years. p418 Their influence has asserted itself in political history even more than in ecclesiastical, and if it seem strange to us that the blood of Europe should have been so freely shed to rescue them from the infidel, we recognise the fact that they have now ceased to be a factor in European politics only because none of the great powers would run the risk of the consequences entailed by meddling with them. As one turns to the history of the buildings themselves, one is attracted towards it by the very mists which conceal so much, as well as by the glimpses which old records afford; and one finds that while much must remain uncertain, one may still follow their history from century to century. One has to be content to leave as doubtful what cannot be ascertained, and not to endeavour to reconstruct details for which no authority offers even plausible guidance; but one finds that the story of the buildings forms a nearly continuous record, as it is obtained from historians, geographers, and pilgrims, both Christian and Mohammedan.
One is encouraged at present to endeavour to follow out the history of these buildings by the fact that within the last few years much has been done to bring the sources of information within the reach of the student, while at least one important authority has been recovered. Older works can never cease to be among the storehouses of scholarly information, such as Mr. Williams's 'The Holy City,' with Professor Willis's 'Architectural History of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre' incorporated in it (London, 1849), Dr. Tobler's 'Golgotha' (Sanct-Gallen, 1851), and the count de Vogüé's great work, 'Les Églises de la Terre Sainte' (Paris, 1860). But each of these must be taken only as an introduction to the study of the actual authorities, which have been largely gathered by the Société de l'Orient Latin, and of which a complete collection was some years ago undertaken by the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society, which has already published translations of most of the extant records down to the thirteenth century. Mr. Guy Le Strange has followed out another branch of investigation in gathering all the references to Palestine in the works of the Arab geographers and publishing them in his 'Palestine under the Moslems' (Palestine Exploration Fund, 1890). To these we must, once for all, express our continual indebtedness.
The first Church of the Holy Sepulchre (we use the term to include the whole buildings connected with the site) was built by the Emperor Constantine in the years 326‑335, and the history of the successive erections upon the spot divides itself naturally into five great periods. The first of these extends from 326, when the foundation of Constantine's buildings was laid, to 614, when they were destroyed by the Persian conqueror, Chosroes II; the second includes the period from 614, when Modestus began their restoration, to 1010, when the church was completely destroyed by the Khalif p419 Al Hâkim; the third opens with the restoration begun in that year and carried out largely by the Emperor Constantine Monomachus, and may be regarded as including the beginning of the crusading period down to about 1130; the fourth extends to the year 1808, when a considerable part of the buildings was destroyed by fire; and the fifth brings down the history to our own day.
The circumstances in which the original buildings were erected by the Emperor Constantine, are described by Eusebius of Caesarea, the ecclesiastical historian, in his 'Life of Constantine,' and as much legendary addition has been made to his statements, it is necessary to be very careful not to go beyond his actual words. Indeed, even the most recent writers afford ample proof of the double danger that constantly besets one in this inquiry, on the one hand the risk of making groundless assumptions, and on the other the tendency to transfer to one epoch the allusions made to another. We must certainly not assume that the description of these buildings at a later stage of this period is applicable to the position two centuries earlier.
Before we turn to the statements of Eusebius, it is well to form some conception of the spot with which we are concerned. It certainly is naturally a rocky platform, less than 400 feet in length and not quite 300 in breadth, by no means level in its surface, with a slight hollow running down it from north to south towards its western end. About the centre of this hollow there was to the west a rock-cut tomb with a vestibule and an inner chamber containing one loculus for a body, the rock rising above it pretty precipitously to a height of about thirty feet. Further along the hollow the rock receded, and another tomb of much larger dimensions was cut in it, on the same level almost, but several feet to the south-west. On the eastern side of the hollow the rock rose in a knoll which did not attain the same height, but spread away towards the east and the south; below the western brow of this knoll, over the hollow, was a sort of cave, probably formed by natural causes, with a fissure in the rock above it. In this description we are anticipating our records, but the explanation is necessary and there is no room for doubt as to the facts. Several hollows, at times deserving to be called cisterns, are further scattered over the surface.
We must unfortunately allow the circumstances which led to the selection of this site to remain completely uncertain. The ordinarily received account is that the Emperor Hadrian, in order to conceal the sepulchre, covered over the whole spot with a mound of earth on which, to desecrate it altogether, he built a temple of Venus, and that the Empress Helena, on her famous pilgrimage to Palestine, learning what Hadrian had done, caused the temple to p420 be demolished and the earth to be removed, when the sacred spot was at once found in its old condition; various accretions to this story speak of the discovery ('invention' is a happy word for it) of three crosses in a cistern towards the east of the platform, and of the cross of Christ being authenticated in different ways. As one reads the way in which M. de Vogüé and Mr. Williams speak of these statements, one is led away by their apparently incontestable arguments, but when one turns to the narrative of Eusebius, one finds that the greater part of them is unauthenticated. The Empress Helena is nowhere mentioned by him in this connexion, and although it is quite conceivable that he should simply not have recorded her name, it is at least more probable that it should afterwards have been wrongly associated with the discovery.1 Hadrian too is not alluded to by Eusebius, who simply informs us that 'ungodly men,' in order to conceal 'that divine monument of immortality,' had covered it over with a great mound of earth on which they had erected the temple of Venus. On the demolition of the temple by the orders of Constantine, as one layer [of earth] after another was laid bare, the place which was beneath the earth appeared; then forthwith, contrary to all expectation, did the venerable and hallowed monument of our Saviour's resurrection become visible, and the most holy cave received what was an exact emblem of His coming to life' ('Life of Constantine,' cap. 28). On this discovery the emperor gave orders that a house of prayer worthy of God should be erected round about the cave of salvation on a scale of rich and imperial costliness.' The governors of the eastern provinces were ordered to provide all that was necessary; Dracilianus, the deputy of the praetorian prefects, was entrusted with the carrying out of the work; and in a letter from the emperor to Macarius, bishop of Jerusalem, which has been preserved by Eusebius, the determination is expressed 'that not only shall this basilica be the finest in the world, but that the details also shall be such that all the fairest structures in every city may be surpassed by it,' while various questions as to the requisite columns and marbles and roof are suggested for his consideration.
To admit of the erection of these buildings, the whole aspect of the ground had to be altered. The sepulchral cave in the western knoll containing the one loculus being regarded as the sepulchre of the Lord, the rock above and around it was cut away so as to leave it standing up from a level floor in the form of a rounded (or, perhaps, a polygonal) hut enclosing a cave, the vestibule being for this purpose removed almost entirely, and the rock cleared in the form of a semicircle about sixty-seven feet11a in diameter. This necessitated p421 the cutting away of part of the second and larger tomb to the southwest, which shows clearly that such an operation on an ordinary sepulchral chamber has been the means of bringing it to its present shape. The eastern knoll was also artificially cut down, but we cannot speak definitely as to this. By these works the platform was to a large extent levelled, and a person standing at its eastern end would have facing him at the west a semicircular recess bounded by a wall of rock, with a sort of rocky hut occupying its centre, and on his left hand an irregular mass of rock rising up about the centre of the length of the space. The former is known as the holy sepulchre, the latter as the site of the crucifixion, during all the history of these buildings
Eusebius appears to have written a detailed description of the buildings of Constantine, which was appended to his 'Life of the Emperor,' but this is not now known to exist, nor have any extracts from it been preserved. In the body of his biography he gives us a shorter account of them, which is our only authority of that period. We quote the translation of it made by Mr. Bernard for the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society.
Chapter 34. Description of the building of the holy sepulchre.
This first, as the chief part of the whole, the liberality of the emperor beautified with choice columns and with much ornament, decorating it with all kinds of adornments.
Chapter 35. Description of the atrium and the porticos.
Next one crossed over to a very large space of ground, to wit, the atrium (?), open to the pure air of heaven; the floor of which a polished stone pavement adorned, bounded by long porticos which ran round continuously on three sides.
Chapter 36. Description of the wails, roof, decoration, and gilding of the nave of the church.
For adjoining the site opposite the cave, which looked towards the rising sun, the basilica was erected, an extraordinary work, reared to an immense height, and of great extent both in length and breadth. Slabs of variegated marble lined the inside of the building, and the appearance of the walls outside exhibited a spectacle of surpassing beauty, no whit inferior to the appearance of marble, shining brightly with polished stones fitting exactly into each other. With regard to the roof, a covering of lead fortified it all round outside, a sure protection against the rains of winter; but the inside was finished with carvings of panel work, and, like a great sea, extended over the whole basilica in a series of connected compartments; and being overlaid throughout with radiant gold, it made the whole temple as it were to glitter with rays of light.
Chapter 37. Description of the double porticos on each side, and of the three eastern gates.
And at each side of the two porticos, with upper and lower ranges, twin colonnades extended the whole length of the temple, these also p422 having their ceilings ornamented with gold. Of these the colonnades towards the front of the building were supported by columns of very vast size, but the inner rows rested on piers; the ornamentation of these piers on the surface was very great. Three gates facing the rising sun were to admit the entering crowd.
Chapter 38. Description of the hemisphere, the twelve columns and their bowls.
Opposite these was the hemisphere, the main point of the whole building, stretching out towards the roof of the basilica, which twelve columns surrounded, equal in number to the apostles of the Saviour, adorned on their summits with great bowls of silver, which the emperor gave — a splendid offering — to his God.
Chapter 39. Description of the atrium, the exhedrae, and the gates.
Then as people go towards the entrances which lie in front of the temple, one comes upon an atrium. There were here, on each side, first a court, then porticos on each side, and lastly the gates of the court. After these, in the midst of the wide market-place, the main entrance [Propylaea] of the whole edifice, of exquisite workmanship, presented to the passers-by on the outside a striking view of the interior.
This passage is certainly not devoid of difficulty, and some of its details must be put aside as altogether beyond our grasp. It speaks first of the western part, connected with the sepulchral cave, but it tells us nothing of any building there, noticing only the columns and ornaments with which it was beautified; and thus, since the semicircular wall of rock of which we afterwards hear is not a detail that could vary at different epochs, we must conclude simply that around this bounding wall, forming a semicircular apse with the cave in the centre, there was a beautiful colonnade. In front of it there is an open court which extends also completely round the northern, western, and southern sides of the enclosure; and we may accept as most probable Professor Hayter Lewis's suggestion of a covered colonnade round the wall of the whole area, except on the eastern side, with an open space (which in front of the sepulchre must have been of considerable extent) intervening between it and the basilica which occupies the eastern half of the enclosure. The description of the porticos (cap. 37) is usually taken as applying to the arrangement of the basilica in five aisles, a wide central one with two of two storeys each at each side. Professor Hayter Lewis indeed, in his most recent restoration of the buildings (Pal. Pil. Text Soc., 'The Churches of Constantine'), refuses to allow the possibility of a double aisle of two storeys, but this is certainly what Eusebius describes if he refers to the aisles of the basilica at all. But the way in which these porticos are spoken of seems to be quite inapplicable to the internal arrangement of the church, and, p423 as the writer just referred to hints, to allude to some detail outside the basilica, as to the exact nature of which we are not informed.
From these the historian passes to the famous 'hemisphere,' which is so hard a crux for the interpreter. M. de Vogüé understands by it the semicircle around the sepulchre, making the basilica cover the whole ground from east to west, but this arrangement of the building is quite contrary to the description of other writers, and a hemisphere is not a semicircle. Professor Hayter Lewis, in the tract we have cited, boldly refers the hemisphere to the building over the sepulchre, which, however, he separates by a wide court from the basilica, and he closes the latter building by a wall with an apse presenting its convex side to the sepulchre. He is much more accurate in his recognition of the hemisphere as implying the covering over of a spot rather than the mere surrounding of one, but he in this way has to meet the objection brought by M. de Vogüé to a similar arrangement of Professor Willis's, that it is scarcely conceivable that the structure facing the sepulchre should be the convex side of an apse, and he also completely removes the hemisphere from the connexion in which Eusebius introduces it, and in which it is only more clearly placed by the one other narrator who distinctly alludes to it. It is spoken of by Eusebius, not as related to the sepulchre, but as connected with the basilica, and we have no right in the absence of any authority to alter its connection. It stands opposite the eastern gates of the basilica; its name seems to imply that it is a sort of cupola raised on columns or in some similar way, but it must not be rashly assumed that the columns, topped with silver bowls, by which it is surrounded, are those on which it is supported. It is unfortunate that Eusebius assumes that his readers know already what he is describing, but we must not attempt to fill up the gaps which we have no means of supplying. We have, however, in a later work, written about 530, 'The Breviary of Jerusalem,' a description of what is plainly the same thing, there called an 'absida,' which is entered either from the atrium or from the chamber on the southern side of the atrium where the true cross was kept.
As one enters the church of the holy Constantine, there is a large absida on the western side, where the three crosses were found. There is there over above an altar made of silver and pure gold, and nine columns which support that altar. The absida itself has twelve marble columns round about it, and, altogether incredible as it may be, above those columns are twelve silver water-pots.2
This also is transferred by Professor Hayter Lewis to the sepulchre, in distinct contradiction of the author's statements. The p424 hemisphere, then, of Constantine, is now spoken of as an absida where the three crosses were found, and only two interpretations are possible. It may be strictly 'opposite the three gates of the basilica' at its western end, or it may be much nearer them, entered naturally from the atrium, on the spot marked out by this description and by the constant legend of after times as that of the invention of the cross. It may have altered its form between its first erection and the time of the 'Breviary,' but at the latter date it is an altar on nine columns, surrounded by the twelve columns topped by silver water-pots. One is almost compelled, even against one's personal wish, to locate it on the spot of the invention, but it may perhaps supply the one guide we have to the closing of the basilica at its western end.
The basilica was entered from the east through the atrium, with porticos at each side, the outer gate of the enclosure opening from the market-place. It is thus possible to assign something like the correct limits of the whole work, as the rock wall at the western end remains necessarily unchanged and the line of the marketplace is known and is followed by the present street. At this eastern extremity some columns are still standing which in all probability were part of the entrance, and one or two other columns and arches remain in the present walls. The western boundary of the basilica is practically defined as we shall see by its lying to the east of the rock of Golgotha. Smaller details we must neglect in this place, but the information thus obtained as to the buildings of Constantine himself is thus practically defined: having levelled the surface so as to leave the sepulchre standing out about nine feet high as the centre of a semicircle, he adorned the space between it and this natural wall of rock with columns, and probably ornamented the sepulchre as well. The space from the sepulchre to beyond Golgotha is open, and the eastern part is occupied with the great basilica, which extends with its atrium to the eastern entrance of the enclosure. The chief feature of the basilica is the hemisphere, a canopy apparently over an altar, which is placed either at the west end of the basilica or near its south-eastern corner over the spot henceforward known as that of the Invention of the Cross. This church is the only building of which we have any definite information, but there may have been some construction over the sepulchre of which we are not told.
Eusebius informs us that this work was undertaken by the emperor 'as a conspicuous monument (μαρτύριον) of the Saviour's resurrection.' The word μαρτύριον, which he here uses, was commonly given in the fourth century to the tomb of a martyr which became a shrine of devotion, and M. de Vogüé refers to several instances in which this tomb was artificially isolated, an altar being then placed above it. The name soon came to be given to the whole p425 buildings, specially in its latinised form, martyrium. And it is of more than mere antiquarian interest to note that the term by which the whole enclosure, or specially its western apse which contained the tomb, was known, was never, as has in more recent times been the case, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but that of the Resurrection, or, in Greek, the Anastasis. We shall now find the special portion connected with the sepulchre regularly known as the Anastasis, that around the eastern knoll of the crucifixion referred to as Golgotha or Calvary (the use varying at different times), and the eastern building or basilica of Constantine spoken of generally under that name.
Leaving now the narrative of Eusebius, we meet the first of the pilgrims of whose journey a record is extant, the nameless pilgrim of Bordeaux, who, unlike his successors with scarcely a single exception, gives us the date of his journey, 333 A.D. He thus visited Jerusalem while the building of Constantine's works was in progress, and his allusion to them [Itin. Burd. 593‑594] is very short: —
On the left side [of the praetorium] is the little hill of Golgotha, where the Lord was crucified. Distant from this as it were a stone's throw is a crypt, where his body was laid and on the third day rose again. In the same place by the order of the Emperor Constantine a basilica has lately been built, that is, a church (dominicum) of marvellous beauty, having at its side reservoirs (exceptoria) whence water is raised, and a bath behind, where infants are washed (i.e. baptised).
The bath which is here spoken of is a well outside the northwest wall of the Rotunda (the Church of the Resurrection) which is used still for the purpose of baptism, while of the reservoirs one has recently been discovered at the south-east of the enclosure, measuring 102 feet in length, 84 feet 6 inches in breadth, and from 84 to 50 feet in depth, arched over so as to have been completely concealed, and in a perfect condition.
The next pilgrim that meets us is one who passes at present under the name of St. Silvia, but who is really unknown by name — a lady of some rank from Gaul, who spent a considerable time in the east about 385 A.D., and of whose journey a somewhat mutilated account has recently been discovered at Arezzo by Signor G. F. Gamurrini and published by him in 1887 (issued by the Pal. Pil. Text Soc., with translation by Mr. Bernard, 1891). She does not give any description of the buildings in those parts which have been recovered, but she describes in great detail some of the special services in them, and she thus casually introduces references to their position which are specially valuable. The account which she gives is so elaborate that one finds oneself often wondering whether it has not been interpolated to a large extent, but this fear is rendered groundless by constant references which plainly imply that they were written about the date that has been assigned. p426 The most important fact we gather from her is one mentioned frequently — that the bishop descends (from some higher point) to the Anastasis, where he 'enters immediately within the rails inside the Anastasis, that is, inside the cave,' and thence, after part of the service, he 'is escorted to the cross,' where other ceremonies are performed, 'and after that the bishop and the whole crowd go behind the cross, and there are there again similar ceremonies to those in front of the cross.' At Easter 'the whole crowd collects before cockcrow in the basilica, which is there near the Anastasis, but outside,' and after the bishop has come down and entered the cave, 'all the doors are opened, and the whole crowd streams into the Anastasis. . . . Censers are brought into the cave of the Anastasis, so that the whole basilica of the Anastasis is filled with odours. Then, where the bishop stands inside the rails, he takes the gospel and advances to the door, and himself reads of the Lord's resurrection. . . . They proceed to the great church built by Constantine, which is in Golgotha behind the cross.' Again and again we read of this 'great church, which is the church in Golgotha, behind the cross, which Constantine built,' and 'which is called the Martyrium because it is in Golgotha, i.e. behind the cross where the Lord suffered.' The church at Bethlehem is said to be 'larger than the Anastasis or the church at the cross.' On Good Friday the bishop sits in a chair in Golgotha behind the cross, and shows the wood of the cross to the people. The place in front of the cross 'is exposed to the open sky, being a kind of atrium, very large and beautiful, situated between the cross and the Anastasis.' Once we read of 'the great doors being opened which are on the side next the market,' when 'all the people along with the bishop enter the Martyrium.' One other reference only may be made to the notice of the instruction of those awaiting baptism, when the bishop explains the deeper mysteries in the Anastasis, 'leaning against the inner rail which is in the cave of the Anastasis,' when 'the doors are shut' to secure that none are present except those permitted.
The general position of the buildings in the days of this pilgrim, fifty years or so after the dedication of Constantine's churches, is thus very plain, and what one would look for from the account already given. The sepulchre is surrounded by a railing, within which the bishop or other reader may stand, and over it is the church of the Anastasis; to the east of this is an open court extending to the cross (by which is evidently meant a cross on the supposed site of the crucifixion, for it is not the true cross), the space being large enough for a crowd to assemble in 'before the cross;' from the cross eastward is the Martyrium, the great church in Golgotha built by Constantine, and in it we find that the true cross is yearly shown to the people, and it must necessarily have been kept securely in some chamber, as we hear of former endeavours p427 of pilgrims to secure a part of it by biting it instead of kissing it. The Anastasis is entered by the people from the court, by the bishop and others from above.3 This is all rendered exceedingly clear, and the simple statements which convey it are just such incidental allusions as are most satisfactory.
From this pilgrim whose narrative has been so recently recovered, we pass at a very short interval to two of the best known of all who have visited the Holy Land, Paula and Eustochium, the friends and followers of St. Jerome. We have a letter written by them jointly to Marcella, a noble Roman lady, urging her to come to them at Bethlehem, and also a eulogy of Paula written by St. Jerome on her death. In the former, of which the date must be about 386, our only references are two casual ones to 'weeping in the sepulchre of the Lord' and 'kissing the wood of the cross.' In the latter, which must be somewhat later, we are told how Paula, 'prostrate before the cross, adored it as though she saw the Lord hanging upon it; entering the sepulchre of the resurrection, she kissed the stone which the angel moved from the door of the tomb, and, as though drinking of longed-for waters, with faithful mouth kissed the very place of the body, on which the Lord had lain.' We are thus brought one step further in the growth of legend, as the stone that closed the entrance to the tomb is now shown; but this is at least a most natural addition, or rather one imagines that the stone has simply not been referred to before.
The next tract that we have is the so‑called 'Epitome of St. Eucherius about certain Holy Places,' which, whether it has any connexion with the bishop of Lyons of the time or not, must have been written about the year 440. Its reference to our site is short. 'From the condition of the streets, one must turn aside to the basilica, which is called the Martyrium, built by Constantine with great splendour. Thence joined to it on the west are seen Golgotha and Anastasis; but Anastasis is on the site of the resurrection, while Golgotha, in the middle between Anastasis and Martyrium, is the site of the Passion of the Lord: in which also the rock is shown, which once bore the cross itself with the body of the Lord affixed to it. Now these are perceived to lie beyond Mount Sion, where a swelling of the ground, which slopes away to the north, advances.'
Another century brings us to a time when the number of relics has marvellously increased, and nearly every event of scriptural (or even of legendary) history has a site assigned to it. At this period no fewer than three records call for notice. The earliest is the 'Breviary' or short description of Jerusalem, which almost bears the stamp of 'an authorised guide to the Holy Places;' the second the p428 narrative of Theodosius, of whom very little is known; the third the better known account of the holy places by Antoninus Martyr, a man of whom we know nothing but that he was a native of Placentia, but whose work, though in some respects very valuable, cannot, as M. de Vogüé says, be cited 'with too great reserve, because of the difficulty which one finds in distinguishing truth from legend.' Without quoting their statements at length, we may gather generally what information they afford to us. As to (1) the Anastasis, the 'Breviary' tells us that a round church is built over the sepulchre; that before the sepulchre is the stone of flint, and that above there is a cornice of silver and gold, and all round a golden one. Theodosius simply notes that from the west side one enters the holy Anastasis, where the sepulchre is. Antoninus has a much longer account of it, speaking of the tomb as cut out of the rock; of a brass lamp which had been at the head of Christ, which burns there day and night, and from which a blessing is received; of earth carried into the sepulchre and taken away by pilgrims; of the stone in front as large as a millstone, so adorned with gold and gems that its colour cannot be distinguished; of the tomb as like a winning-post of a racecourse in shape, covered with silver, with an altar in front under golden suns. (2) Golgotha is now covered by a large atrium, according to the 'Breviary,' while the actual spot of the crucifixion is surrounded by silver railings, richly ornamented with gold and silver; it has in it a silver door where the cross is shown, all adorned with gold and gems, having no covering above it; various relics are also spoken of. Theodosius adds to this that steps lead up to the top of the hill; that there is a recess where a man was brought to life by the cross which was thus known to be the true cross; that Adam was here created (the first trace of the Chapel of Adam); and that from the sepulchre to Calvary is fifteen paces, 'all under one roof.' Antoninus gives the distance as eighty paces, speaks of marks of blood on the rock, and of a fissure in the rock, 'where, if you place your ear, you will hear the sound of running water, and if you throw in an apple or a pear or anything else that will swim, and go down to the pool of Siloam, you will find it there again.' (3) In the basilica of Constantine, the 'Breviary,' as has already been mentioned, speaks of a 'cubiculum' on the left as one enters where the cross of the Lord was placed; and if one enters thence the church of St. Constantine there is a great absida on the west, where the three crosses were found, and where there is an altar of pure gold and silver supported by nine columns; the absida has twelve marble columns round it, and however incredible this may be, there are twelve silver water-pots above these columns. The basilica is in the middle of the city; it contains the lance with which the side of the Lord was pierced, out of which there has been formed a cross which shines at night like p429 the sun at noonday. Theodosius speaks of the three crosses in the basilica, and alludes to some who say that every part which touched the naked body of the Lord and was stained with His blood, was at once taken up into heaven; he mentions the altar of gold and silver supported by the nine columns, the spear in the middle of the building with the same legend. Antoninus, giving the distance from Golgotha to the place where the cross was found as fifty paces, mentions the 'cubiculum' in the atrium, where the title of the cross is also shown, the cross being of nut; he has a marvellous story of a star shining when the cross is brought out, and speaks of the sponge and the reed and the onyx cup of the Last Supper as exhibited along with 'the spices and the girdle and the bandage of the entombment.' The sponge, reed, and cup are placed by the 'Breviary' in the sacrarium of the basilica, which is, however, spoken of in connexion with the Anastasis.
At this time, then, the open court between the Anastasis and the cross is covered over, but the site of the cross is itself uncovered. The description of the object which was formerly known as the hemisphere is connected with the altar of the basilica; the rock of Calvary is railed off, and the cross on it is spoken of in terms which show a confusion with the true cross.
These different narratives thus present to us an exceedingly simple statement of the history of the buildings from their foundation to the eve of their destruction by Chosroes II. The whole enclosure is surrounded by a beautiful colonnade along its northern, western, and southern sides, which is on the north and south bordered by an open court. At first the silence of Eusebius leaves us in ignorance whether any regular building covered the western apse of the enclosure which had been cut out of the rock so as to leave the sepulchre in its centre, or whether the tomb was merely adorned with columns and other means of ornament; but before the close of the first century of its history, this has been roofed over and enclosed on the east so as to form a church of the Anastasis. The open court left in front of the sepulchre had at first stretched beyond the rocky knoll of Golgotha, and continued to do so for some considerable time, but it has been roofed over by the beginning of the sixth century. On Golgotha itself a silver cross has been erected at an early period, which is at times confused with the true cross. The basilica of Constantine has meanwhile remained unchanged, so far as we know, stretching with its atrium from Golgotha to the great eastern entrance of the enclosure. Beside the atrium is a recess where the wood of the true cross is kept, and from which it is on special occasions brought to the basilica to be adored, and this must have been the case from an early date, shortly after the time of Constantine at the latest. Other relics have been gradually introduced, in accordance with the growing p430 tendency to localise every event, and to show some object connected with it, but these have necessarily no influence on the buildings themselves.
In the year 614 the whole of these buildings were completely destroyed by Chosroes II, the Persian king. It would be out of place here to speak of his triumphant expedition against the Roman dominions in the east, of which the capture of Jerusalem and the destruction of its buildings were the climax; we may only note that any such work of destruction would leave the aspect of the site and the foundations of the chief erections unchanged. Only a few months after his capture of the city, leave was given (it is said on the intercession of his wife, who was a Christian) to rebuild the Church of the Resurrection, and a commencement was at once made by Modestus, the abbot of the monastery of St. Theodosius, who acted as vicar of Zacharias, the captive patriarch. The aid of John Eleemosynarius (the almsgiver), patriarch of Alexandria, was freely given to Modestus, but even with it it must have been quite impossible for him to restore the buildings to anything like their former condition, and probably little was effected beyond the erection of a church over the sepulchre. This was dedicated on 14 Sept. 629, when the Emperor Heraclius celebrated his triumph over Chosroes by bearing into the new Anastasis on his shoulder the wood of the true cross, which he had recovered from the invader.4 The work of restoration would be only quickened by the ceremony, but again the armies of the conqueror appeared in Palestine, and the Arab hosts of 'Omar, under his general Abu Obeidah, having decisively defeated the Greeks on the Yarmûk (Hieromax) in 634, proceeded to overrun the whole of Syria, capturing in 636 all the other cities from Gaza to Nâblûs, and laid siege to the holy city, which was defended by the patriarch Sophronius. Compelled to capitulate, the Christian leader, having stipulated for the complete security of his people, and for the preservation of their churches and for liberty of worship, demanded the right to surrender the city to the khalif in person. Later narratives have not failed to surround the incident with a halo of romance, and the familiar story tells how 'Omar, entering the city, was brought by the patriarch to the Church of the Resurrection, and when the hour of prayer came on, refused to pray within it but retired outside and performed the act of devotion standing alone on the doorsteps of the building, explaining to the wondering bishop that otherwise the church would have, in the eyes of the p431 faithful Mohammedans, at once become a mosque, and no stipulation could have preserved it for the Christians; and we are told that, to prevent all danger in the future, he on the spot wrote out and gave to Sophronius a document forbidding any Mohammedans to pray within the church or to use it as a mosque, and ordering that, even on its steps, prayer should never be offered by more than one of the followers of the prophet at the same time. The story is quite in keeping with the character of the great khalif, but it rests on no authority within 700 years of the event. The earliest account of the capitulation which we have is that of the Byzantine historian Theophanes (about 800 A.D.), who mentions merely that 'Sophronius, the chief of Jerusalem, obtained from 'Omar a treaty in favour of all the inhabitants of Palestine,' and then speaks of the khalifs visit to the temple area, as to which alone we have various statements by the early Arab writers, from about 850 A.D.
Our great authority for the description of the buildings of Modestus and of those who carried on his work, is Arculfus, a French bishop, who visited the country about the year 670 and spent a considerable period in it. He was, on his homeward journey by sea, driven off his course to the west coast of Scotland and visited Iona, where he remained for some time as the guest of the well-known abbot of that island, Adamnan, who compiled from his narrative the account of the holy places which attained so much fame in the middle ages under the name of Arculfus. It is, in most of its manuscript copies, accompanied by several drawings, including one of the Church of the Resurrection, which is of altogether unique interest; and it is undoubtedly the most important of all the pilgrim records, although some corrections must be made in its illustrations and legend is not absent from the text. His account of the buildings connected with the sepulchre is too long for quotation, but it is to the following effect. The Church of the Anastasis is described as round, and as having three walls, separated by considerable intervals, the centre one having three recesses each containing an altar, situated at its extreme northern, western, and southern points. It has eight entrances, arranged in two series of four, the one from the north-east, the other from the south-east — these being so constructed as to pass through the walls in straight lines. In the centre of this round church is the tomb, described as 'a round cabin cut out in the rock, in which thrice three men can pray standing,' the roof being about a foot and a half above the head of a man of ordinary height. The entrance to the tomb is at the east; the exterior is covered with choice marble, with a large golden cross on the summit, but the inside has been left unadorned, so that the marks of the hewer's tools are quite distinguishable upon the rocky covering. The loculus for the body is on the north side, p432 three palms from the floor, and about seven feet in length; it has been artificially excavated, and is specially said not to be double so as to separate the legs of the body, but to be single, 'affording a bed capable of holding a man lying on his back from his head even to his soles.' Twelve lamps burn in it night and day. The stone which had closed the entrance to the cave is broken in two, the smaller part being used as an altar at the entrance to the tomb, while the larger is similarly used at the eastern extremity of the Rotunda. The church on Golgotha is not specially described, but it is said to be very large; a brass chandelier is suspended over the spot where the cross was fixed, and where now a large silver cross has been erected; and the cave beneath is spoken of with reference to the masses said there for the souls of the dead whose corpses are placed outside of it. The basilica of Constantine is associated with the discovery of the cross. Between it and the Golgotha church is a small square with lamps continuously burning in it beside a wooden table on which alms for the poor are laid, occupying the site of the altar of Abraham. Across the enclosure, to the northwest of the basilica, is a recess in which are kept the silver cup of the Last Supper and the sponge offered to the Lord on the cross 'full of vinegar.' The soldier's spear, broken in two pieces, is fixed in a wooden cross in the portico of the basilica. The napkin with which the Lord's face was covered in the tomb is also preserved in the church, a marvellous legend being attached to it. One other building is mentioned, the Church of St. Mary on the right side of the Anastasis.
The arrangement of the buildings of Modestus, as described by Arculfus, is thus the same as that of the former period. No mention is made of the form of the enclosure as a whole, but in the drawing a double line along the southern side suggests that it is meant to represent a colonnade, and M. de Vogüé points out that there is in the outside of the staircase of the present Calvary building, a column on a cubical pedestal which would form one of such a series. Of the Church of the Anastasis and the sepulchre itself we have now for the first time any detailed account, the latter being specially noticeable, as the inner surface of the rock, which since the time of the crusades has been so lined with marble as to be invisible, was then seen in its natural condition, and the marks of the hewer's tools are spoken of as clearly distinguishable upon it. The size of the chamber is also a valuable point of the description; it holds nine men standing, it is about seven feet in height, and the length must be that of the loculus which occupies its northern side, seven feet; these figures representing a larger area than the present interior, but the difference being such as would naturally be caused by the marble lining of the walls, the roof, and the loculus. The question whether the loculus itself is in the form of a smooth slab p433 or is hollowed out in the form of a coffin, is not decisively answered, but the probability is that the description refers to a level cutting in the rock. The triple wall of the round church presents a considerable difficulty, for the description is even more definitely carried out in the drawing; yet the middle wall with its three recesses must beyond all question be the bounding wall of the rock itself with its three apses cut in the positions indicated by Arculfus, so that it is impossible that there can for the western half of the church have been any third wall exterior to it. The solution adopted by M. de Vogüé is at once natural and sufficient, that the description refers with exactness only to the eastern half of the church which is the more exposed to view, and through which the entrances were, and that at this part the rock wall of the western half was continued to complete the circle by a colonnade more or less solidly built, another colonnade running on the outside of this, while a third was built some distance nearer the sepulchre. At the eastern point of the Rotunda was the altar formed of the larger part of the stone which was supposed to have closed the tomb, and the entrances to the church were necessarily on the northern and southern sides of this. The arrangement of Arculfus's drawing, which shows at each of these points four entrances cut through the three walls, is naturally taken as representing four passages through the colonnades. The round form of the church is a new detail, although as a matter of fact there has been no statement previously as to the shape of the Church of the Anastasis.
It is in every way probable that the arrangement of the buildings as described by Arculfus was unchanged during the whole of this second period — the round church of the Anastasis occupying the western end, the church of Golgotha being built above the fissured rock on the centre of the southern side, and the basilica spreading over the east of the enclosure; the open court left between the churches would of course naturally be variously used from time to time. A colonnade, one imagines, ran round the southern and northern sides of the area, and the Church of St. Mary was built on the right of the Anastasis.
The other pilgrims of this period who have left us any information as to the state of the buildings connected with the holy sepulchre, do not add much to what we have learned from Arculfus. The first of them is St. Willibald, bishop of Eichstädt, an Englishman of royal descent, who spent a considerable time in Palestine about the year 754. Two narratives of his journey are known, the larger being the Hodoeporicon or diary, the other a mere itinerary. The former alone refers to the churches within our present purpose, and its only new information is in reference to three wooden crosses on the eastern wall of the Anastasis, and as to the form of the interior of the sepulchral chamber. The passage is not long and may p434 be quoted (from Canon Brownlow's translation for the Pal. Pil. Text Soc.): —
From thence they came to Jerusalem, to that place where the holy cross of our Lord was found. There is now a church in that spot which was called the place of Calvary. And this was formerly outside Jerusalem; but Helena, when she found the cross, arranged that place so as to be within the city of Jerusalem. And there now stand three crosses of wood outside on the eastern wing of the church, by the wall, in memory of the holy cross of our Lord and of the others who were crucified with him. These are not now inside the church, but stand without, outside the church under [the eaves of] the roof. And along there is that garden, in which was the sepulchre of our Saviour. That sepulchre was cut out in the rock, and that rock stands above ground, and is square at the bottom and tapers up towards the top. And there stands now on the summit of that sepulchre a cross, and there has now been constructed over it a wonderful house, and on the eastern side of that rock of the sepulchre a door has been made, through which men enter into the sepulchre to pray. And there is a bed (lectus) inside, on which the body of our Lord was laid. And there stand in the bed fifteen golden bowls, with oil burning day and night. That bed in which the body of our Lord was laid is situated on the north side within the rock of the sepulchre, and is on the right side to a man when he goes into the sepulchre to pray. And there in front of the door of the sepulchre lies that great stone, squared after the likeness of the former stone which the angel rolled back from the door of the sepulchre.
Another pilgrim of importance belonging to this period is Bernard the Wise (867 A.D.), from whom, however, we have practically only an abbreviation of the statements of Arculfus. He mentions the four churches (including that of St. Mary) as' united to each other by walls.' The sepulchre has 'nine columns surrounding it, between which are walls of excellent stones; of these nine columns, four are in front of the tomb, which with their walls enclose [claudunt] the stone placed before the sepulchre.' 'Between the four churches is a Paradise without a roof, the walls of which shine with gold; while the pavement is laid with most precious stone, having in the centre an enclosure of four chains, which come from the above named four churches, where the middle of the world is said to be.'
In the year 848 we find a description of the sepulchre quoted by Paschasius Radbertus in his commentary on St. Matthew, which he professes to have taken from the narratives of many contemporary pilgrims, but from which we need not quote more than the statement that a man standing within the tomb 'could scarcely touch the roof with his outstretched arm.' Some years later a Greek monk, Epiphanius, mentions the prison to the north of the court, where Christ and Barabbas (sic) were confined; between this prison and the Church of the Crucifixion is the door of the Church of St. Constantine, built on the spot where the three crosses were found.
p435 But we should be altogether mistaken if we imagined that during this period the history of these buildings was uneventful, for they must have been largely affected by the alternations of persecution and toleration which the Christians of Jerusalem experienced. Their most prosperous period was in the reign of the Khalif Harun Ar Rashîd (786‑809), who entered into most friendly relations with Charles the Great. The period of anarchy which followed the death of Ar Rashîd was a disastrous one to the churches of the Anastasis, for we are told by the chroniclers of the time that the churches were spoiled and ruined, a statement, however, which we must read in the light of the fact that in the reign of Al Mamun (the second khalif after Ar Rashîd), the patriarch Thomas, who was liberally supplied with funds by Bocam, a wealthy Egyptian, required only fifteen (another account says 'fifty') cedar and fir trees from Cyprus for the restoration of the buildings. The story goes that he adroitly chose for his work a time of famine when the chief Mohammedans of Jerusalem had fled from the city, and then not only repaired the buildings but so increased their beauty, and above all the height of the dome of the Church of the Sepulchre, that the Muslims found that their newly-restored Kubbat as Sakhra (the Mosque of 'Omar) was dwarfed altogether by it. Thomas and his fellow dignitaries were at once accused of breaking the conditions under which their liberty was guaranteed, in making their dome higher than that of the Sakhra, and they took refuge in what, in Mr. Besant's words, we can call only 'a miserable subterfuge' and 'deliberate falsehood' by asserting that the dimensions of the dome were exactly the same as they had been before. The statement was openly false, but no actual proof of this was available, and the patriarch and his friends were released.
A few years later, 842, in the reign of Al Mu'tasim, the brother and successor of Al Mamun, a rebel chief, Temîm Abu Hâreb, seized possession of the holy city, and the Christian churches were saved from demolition only by the payment of a large ransom on the part of the patriarch. Again, before the end of the ninth century, we find the patriarch Elias III writing to Charles the Fat and the other princes of Europe, soliciting aid in the restoration of the churches which had fallen into a miserable state of decay; and once more, in 987, immediately after the Ikhshîdî princes of Egypt obtained possession of Syria, 'the church of Constantine was destroyed, and the churches of Calvary and the Resurrection once more ruined and despoiled.' Yet so difficult is it altogether to secure accuracy as to such events that we have to believe that six years after this, in 948, when Mas'ûdi wrote his 'Meadows of Gold' (the first Arab work in which the Church of the Resurrection is mentioned) not only was the Anastasis fully occupied but it was also spoken of as a most honoured building. 'When Solomon had completed the building (of the temple), he set about building a house for his own use. This last p436 is the place that, in our day, is called the Kanîsah al Kumâmah.5 It is the largest church in Jerusalem belonging to the Christians. They have also in the Holy City other greatly honoured churches besides this one.' He also describes the miracle of the holy fire (first spoken of by Bernard the Wise). Once more about the year 975, the victories which had been won by Nicephorus Phocas and John Zimisces roused the wrath of the Muslims when they gained the upper hand, and Jerusalem suffered very seriously; 'the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was destroyed, and the patriarch, suspected of treasonous intercourse with the Greeks, was taken prisoner and burnt alive.'6 But again we have, in 985, the very important work of Mukaddasi (translated for the Pal. Pil. Text Soc. by Mr. Guy Le Strange) in which he speaks of 'the beautiful churches in Syria belonging to the Christians, so enchantingly fair, and so renowned for their splendour; even as are the Kumâmah and the churches of Lydda and Edessa.' Still more remarkable is his statement that in Jerusalem 'everywhere the Christians and the Jews have the upper hand.' Mukaddasi, however, gives no description of the Church of the Anastasis.
Any partial destruction of the buildings of the Christians was, however, completely forgotten when in the year 1010, 'the mad khalif of Egypt,' Al Hâkim-bi‑amr‑Illah, ordered the complete destruction of the whole buildings. We must refer our readers for a discussion of the circumstances which led to this event and of the event itself, to the pages of such authorities as Mr. Le Strange7 or Messrs. Besant and Palmer.8 The order ran, 'The Imam, the commander of the faithful, orders you so to destroy the church of Al Kumâmah that its earth shall become heaven and its length its breadth.' Such a destruction was, in the nature of things, immeasurably more complete than even that of Chosroes four centuries previously, and the command was so faithfully carried out that an attempt was made to destroy the rock-hewn tomb itself. It is not improbable that some success followed the attempt, and that the rock was injured though not in any way destroyed. But at any rate the whole of the buildings were utterly destroyed so far as it was possible for any human power to effect their demolition.
The rebuilding of the Church of the Resurrection and the adjoining buildings after their complete destruction by the mad khalif, Hâkim, was, according to the traditional account, scarcely less rapid, though much less complete, than that after the more partial demolition by Chosroes II. The story, goes that, within a few months of their ruin, the mother of the khalif, a Christian bearing the name of Mary, who was the sister of the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Alexandria, obtained from him leave for the Christians to return to the city and to re-erect their churches, the chief authority for this statement being the chronicle of Raoul the Bald (Rodulphus Glaber). Other writers assign later dates for this permission to rebuild the churches, and we can scarcely hope to ascertain definitely what the course of events was; but, without attempting to fix the date exactly, we may simply accept the fact that, within a short time of the destruction, the work of restoration was begun, though only on a temporary footing. Negotiations for a permanent reconstruction were entered on by the emperor Romanus Argyrus (1028‑1034), with the Khalif Adh Dhâhir, the son and successor of Hâkim (1020‑1035), and they were finally arranged by their successors, Michael IV (the Paphlagonian), and the Khalif Al Mustansir in 1087. The work was spread over eleven years, the expense being chiefly borne by the Emperor Constantine Monomachus, and the buildings, so far as reconstructed during this period, were completed by the Patriarch Nicephorus in 1048. This, at least, is the most probable explanation of the conflicting narratives of different chroniclers. The only Moslem writer who refers to the matter is Mujîr ad Din, who says: 'During the year 398 (1008) the Khalif Hâkim ordered the Kumâmah to be destroyed. The church, however, was allowed to be rebuilt during the reign of his son, Al Mustansir, by the king of Rûm.'9
p670 The narratives of various pilgrimages made during the eleventh century, before the time of the crusades, have come down to us in one form or other, and among the pilgrims we have such men as Fulk the Black (Count of Anjou), Raymond of Plaisance, Robert of Normandy, Abbot Richard of St. Vitou, Bishop Lietbert of Cambray, and the Archbishop of Mayence with an army of seven thousand pilgrims (among whom were the bishops of Utrecht, Bamberg, and Ratisbon).10 But the only description of the holy sites that has come down to us during this period is that of Nâsir-i‑Khusrau, a Persian, whose 'Diary of a Journey through Syria and Palestine,' made in 1047, has been translated from the Persian by Mr. Le Strange for the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society. He says: —
In the Holy City the Christians possess a church which they call Bai'at-al‑Kumamah, and they hold it in high veneration. Every year great multitudes of people from Rûm come hither to perform their visitation; and the emperor of Byzantium himself even comes here, but privily so that no one should recognise him. . . . At the present day the church is a most spacious building, and is capable of holding 8,000 persons. The edifice is built, with the utmost skill, of coloured marbles, with ornamentation and sculptures. Inside the church is everywhere adorned with Byzantine brocade, worked in gold with pictures. And they have portrayed Jesus — peace be upon Him! — who at times is shown riding upon an ass. There are also pictures representing others of the prophets, as, for instance, Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob with his sons — peace be unto them all! These pictures they have overlaid with a varnish of the oil of Sandaracha; and for the face of each portrait they have made a plate of thin glass, which is set thereon, and is perfectly transparent. This dispenses with the need of a curtain, and prevents any dust or dirt from settling on the painting, for the glass is cleaned daily by the servants (of the church). Besides this (Church of the Resurrection) there are many others (in Jerusalem), all very skilfully built; but to describe them all would lead into too great length. In the church (of the Resurrection) there is a picture divided into two parts, representing heaven and hell. One part shows the people of paradise in paradise, while the other shows the people of hell in hell, with all that therein is; and assuredly there is nowhere else in the world a picture such as this. There are seated in this church great numbers of priests and monks, who read the evangel and say prayers, for both by day and by night they are occupied after this manner.
Nâsir-i‑Khusrau is thus no exception to the rule by which pilgrims give us much information which we could do without, but do not tell us what we should much rather have learned. His narrative may fortunately be completed from other two which, although written after the capture of the city by the crusaders, are still anterior to the chief changes made on the buildings by them, p671 which the tract of 'Fetellus' shows us were not commenced for some years, being in progress and only recently begun in 1180. We may thus extend this period to about that time, and we are fortunate in having such complete narratives as those of Sæwulf and the Abbot Daniel as our guides to the pre-crusading buildings. The account of these two writers is too long for direct quotation, and a more elaborate estimate of it than we can now attempt will be found in an appendix to the translation of the latter writer made by Sir Charles W. Wilson for the Pilgrims' Text Society.
Sæwulf's narrative was written immediately after the capture of Jerusalem in the year 1102. Speaking of 'the Church of the Holy Sepulchre' (the first time, so far as we remember, when the name occurs) or the Martyrium, he says that 'in the middle of this church is the Sepulchre of the Lord, surrounded by a very strong wall, and covered over, lest rain should fall upon the Holy Sepulchre, for the church above is open to the sky.' In the court of the church are the prison in which the Lord was confined — a little to the east, the place where the crosses were found, 'and where a large church was afterwards built in honour of Queen Helena, but which has since been utterly destroyed by the pagans, — to the west, the column of scourging, the place of stripping, and that where He was invested in the purple robe and where His garments were divided. Calvary is next mentioned, with the rock cracked near the spot where the cross was fixed; it is the site of Abraham's sacrifice; in the cave below, which he calls Golgotha, Adam was raised from the dead; close at hand is the church of St. Mary over the place of Unction. Returning to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, he mentions for the first time the name of Compas given to the centre of the world, situated to the east of the church, not far from Calvary, this being also the spot where Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection; he describes four side chapels attached to the Church, that of St. Mary on the north, and on the south, in succession, the chapel of St. John, the monastery of the Holy Trinity, and the chapel of St. James the Apostle, 'all so built and arranged that any one standing in the farthest church can clearly see all the five churches from door to door.' To the south of the church is the Church of St. Mary Latin, the altar of which is said 'by the Assyrians' to be on the spot where the Virgin stood during the crucifixion.
The Russian abbot, Daniel, as to whom we know practically nothing beyond his name and rank, visited the Holy Land during the years 1106 and 1107, spending the Easter of the latter year in Jerusalem. The account which he gives of the buildings with which we are concerned is a long one, and we must curtail it very largely, referring to the translation of his work (made by Sir Charles Wilson from a French translation by Madame Sophie de p672 Khitrowo) for farther details. His description of the sepulchre itself, however, is sufficiently important to be quoted at length.
It is a small cave hewn out in the rock, having an entrance so low that a man can scarcely get through by going on bended knees; its height is inconsiderable, and its dimensions, equal in length and breadth, do not amount to more than four cubits. When one has entered the grotto by the little entrance, one sees on the right hand a sort of bench, cut in the rock of the cavern, upon which the body of our Lord Jesus Christ was laid; it is now covered by marble slabs. This sacred rock, which all Christians kiss, can be seen through three small round openings on one side. There are five large oil-lamps burning night and day suspended in the sepulchre of our Lord. The holy bench upon which the body of Christ rested is four cubits in length, two in width, and one and a half in height. Three feet in front of the entrance to the cavern there is the stone upon which the angel sat who appeared to the women and announced to them the resurrection of Christ. The holy grotto is cased externally with beautiful marble, like a raised platform (ambo), and is surrounded by twelve columns of similar marble. It is surmounted by a beautiful turret-resting on pillars, and terminating in a cupola, covered with silver-gilt plates, which bears on its summit a figure of Christ in silver, above the ordinary height; this was made by the Franks. This turret, which is exactly under the open dome, has three doors skilfully executed in trellis-work; it is by these doors that one enters the holy sepulchre.
The Church of the Resurrection is said by Daniel to be round, 210 feet in diameter,11b paved with beautiful marble slabs, with twelve monolithic columns and six pillars. Its dome 'is formed of a framework of wooden beams, so that the church is open at the top,' the sepulchre being immediately under the open dome. It has six entrances and 'galleries with sixteen columns,' and various mosaics above the galleries are described; it has spacious apartments in the upper part, where the patriarch lives. The entrance of the tomb is 84 feet from the high altar (in the east of the church), behind which is the centre of the earth covered by a small building. From this point it is 84 feet to Calvary, a rounded rock with a socket-hole a cubit deep and scarcely a foot in circumference, rent at a point above that where Adam's skull lay. Calvary is enclosed by a wall, and covered by a building with various mosaics; but Calvary, he adds, is the name properly given to the cave below, the upper part being Golgotha. The place where the garments were parted, and that of the mocking, are close to Calvary on the north side. Abraham's altar is also close to this place, and mention is made of the prison, at a distance of 175 feet from which is the place where the cross was found, and of the spot from which the women viewed the crucifixion, called Spudi, a church of St. Mary with a timber roof standing on the spot. At a later stage p673 the abbot describes at length the descent of the Holy Light on the Saturday before Easter (first mentioned by Bernard the Wise, 867 A.D.), and he mentions the fact that on going three days later to take away his lamp which had been lighted by the fire, he was allowed by the keeper to inspect the sepulchre itself very minutely, and so gratified that functionary by his generous gratuity that he 'pushed back the slab that covers the part of the sacred tomb on which Christ's head lay, and broke off a morsel of the sacred rock; this he gave me as a blessed memorial, begging me at the same time not to say anything about it at Jerusalem.' From the information afforded by these writers we are unable to follow in detail the growth of the reconstructed churches during the eleventh century, but we are left in no doubt as to the main facts that concern us. The energy of the builders was concentrated on the Church of the Resurrection, which was restored to practically its older form. The western semicircular wall, with its three apses, is necessarily unchanged, and it is continued as before, so as to form a round church, the eastern end being, however, finished by an apse entered by an arch of special size reaching into the triforium, and occupied by the high altar; the entrances to the church are also necessarily, as before, at the sides of this apse. Within this bounding wall or colonnade, a circular range of columns and arches is formed on (probably) the old site of the inner wall of Arculfus, which supports the clerestory and triforium. The wooden roof of the church rises like a truncated cone, the centre being left open above the chapel of the sepulchre itself. Externally much has been done for the ornamentation of the tomb, a wall cased with marble, in which twelve columns and twelve arches have a part, protecting it, and bearing an upper domed pavilion on which a silver image of the Saviour stands immediately under the central opening of the roof; this, however, is stated to be the work of the Crusaders, but we are at a loss to know whether it is the whole pavilion or the silver image that is alluded to. The interior of the tomb has been completely altered in appearance. Not improbably it had been considerably injured by the efforts of Hâkim's officers, and while formerly the loculus where the body lay was separately roofed over by the rock, which was cut out in a vaulted form at a lower level than the roof of the cave, one vaulted roof now extends over the whole inner surface. The bed of the loculus is covered with marble slabs pierced at three points (as is frequently mentioned), one of the slabs being movable. A further addition to this church has been made by the beginning of the twelfth century, and may have been carried out at the time of the restoration by Constantine Monomachus, in the four side chapels, one on the north, three on the south, the entrances to which are on a straight line with those to the church, their apses being probably on the p674 line with the apse of the church, while their western walls would join the wall of the church at the points where the external rock ceased. It is difficult for us to understand how these should have been built in preference to a church on Calvary, and the 'Fetellus' narrative of 1130 makes no reference to them; but the statement of Sæwulf is too clear to admit of question, and its date is undoubted. These side chapels are further still standing, and their architecture is that of the pre-crusading period. The Church of the Resurrection was, however, the only one of the buildings that was effectively restored. Calvary appears to have been without any church on its site until the beginning of the crusading era, when a small chapel was erected on it. Across the area from it several sites were enclosed under one roof, while the centre of the whole space was covered, as the centre of the earth, with a small oratory. The site of the Basilica of Constantine was altogether uncovered, although it is generally supposed that the eastern end of the enclosure was occupied by the small church of the Invention of the Cross or of St. Helena. This, however, is contrary to the evidence afforded us; and although the architecture of that chapel seems to point us back to pre-crusading times, it is more probable that at a later period the ruins of this subterranean chapel should have been capable of restoration to their original position than that the direct statements of the writers of the period should be erroneous. What exact form the boundaries of the enclosure took, we do not know; but on the northern side there is still a cloister, which gives every indication of belonging to this period, while it does not form the same angle with the Church of the Resurrection as the adjoining crusading buildings do. It is composed of seven arches, now known as the Seven Arches of the Virgin, resting on columns which M. de Vogüé describes as an imitation of Corinthian and of Byzantine style. On the extreme south also, in line with the southern side of the chapel of St. James, a portico of seven columns seems to have been built, six of the bases being still visible, while in the south-east corner of the chapel the seventh is still standing complete with a portion of the arch which it supported. But beyond this we cannot safely make any conjecture, except in the recognition of certain buildings connected "with the clerestory which, following out the previous custom, formed apartments for the use of the patriarch, their level being very much that of the adjoining street on the north. We cannot define exactly the time when the crusading additions and extensions were commenced; probably smaller works had been carried out before the erection of the great choir which forms the chief feature of their work. But we may provisionally accept the year 1130 as forming the division between the two periods, as at that time we have the account of the holy places which goes under p675 the name of Fetellus, archdeacon of Antioch about 1200 A.D., but which was certainly written by an unknown author about the year mentioned. It forms the foundation of a large number of 'Guides to the Holy Places' in later times, and has passed under several different names. The account it gives is short, and one would almost have placed its information as previous to Sæwulf and Daniel. It says: —
The Church of the Sepulchre is round, of considerable beauty of construction, and it has four gates which are opened over against the sunrising. The Sepulchre of the Lord is in the middle of it, sufficiently well protected and decently adorned. On the outside of it, on the east, is the site of Calvary, where the Lord was crucified, and there one ascends by sixteen steps, and there is a great rock where the Cross of Christ was erected. Lower is Golgota,º where the blood of Christ trickled down through the middle of the rock, and where there is an altar in honour of the sainted mother of God. Outside of this, over against the sun-rising, is the place where the blessed Helena found the Holy Cross, and there a large church is building. On the other side over against the sixth hour (i.e. to the south) is a hospital for poor and infirm persons, and the church of St. John Baptist. And near at hand is St. Mary Latin. In the above-mentioned church of the blessed John is a stone water-pot in which the Lord made wine from water.
The natural tendency is certainly to place this account at the beginning of the twelfth century, but the historical incidents referred to in the work render this impossible, as for example the allusion to the Patriarch Warmund 'of blessed memory' in connexion with the siege of Tyre 1124, Warmund dying in 1128; and even if some other allusions could be regarded as insertions by a later hand, this and others of a similar character are conclusive against any date before 1130.
As we now turn to the fourth period of our history, we cannot possibly hope to follow out in detail the story of the buildings of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the long period of nearly seven centuries. All we can aim at is to trace the changes introduced by the crusaders, and to note the chief events that have since affected the buildings, with their results.
The information that is afforded us as to the condition of the buildings in the middle half of the twelfth century, representing the changes introduced by the crusaders before their expulsion in 1187, is fortunately both detailed and varied. Besides various longer or shorter statements made by the historians of the period, among whom William of Tyre stands pre-eminent, we have four distinct treatises on the subject. The first is the 'Description of the Holy Land' by John of Würzburg, which must have been written between p676 the years 1160 and 1170, nothing more being known of its author; the second is a 'Description of the Holy Land,' written very soon after, between 1171 and 1178, by Theoderich, who may perhaps be identified with one of that name who became bishop of Würzburg in 1228. These two follow very largely the Latin type of the guide of the period, the earliest form of which we have already met in the so called 'Fetellus.' After an interval of a few years we have a much shorter tract by Joannes Phocas, who served for a time in the army of the Emperor Manuel I (Comnenus) and afterwards became a monk, written about 1185. Two years later we have the first form of another type, the Norman French, in the 'Citez de Jherusalem,' dating immediately after the capture of the city of Saladin in 1187, the first of several similar works bearing on the position of the city in the beginning of the thirteenth century. From these four works we may deduce the outstanding facts.
First we may turn to the sepulchre itself, to which what is known as the Angel Chapel was now added, representing the original ante-chamber, which had been cut away in the course of the levelling of the area by Constantine; the chamber was almost square, and, in addition to the low entrance from it into the tomb, it had a door in each of its three walls, that in the east being reserved for the use of the guardians of the sepulchre, while that on the north was the one by which pilgrims entered the chapel, leaving it, after entering the tomb, by the southern door. Within the chapel, by the time of Theoderich, was the Stone of Unction (which now stands opposite the door of the church) used as an altar; when John Phocas wrote, it had been encased in white marble. The loculus was, as described by Theoderich, 'wondrously adorned with white marble, gold, and precious stones,' the three holes being still left to allow pilgrims to kiss the actual stone; but Phocas speaks of it as 'ornamented round about with pure gold, through the love and faith of my lord and master, Manuel Comnenus Porphyrogenitus.' The interior of the vault and sides of the tomb is covered with marble, and the outside is richly ornamented with pillars and arches supporting an upper structure surmounted by a cross. John of Würzburg describes this structure as a cuplike dome, 'the upper surface of which is covered with silver, and which rises high in the air towards the wide space open to the sky, which is made in the larger building above it.' Theoderich gives a very complicated account, in which it is difficult at times to know what he is referring to; he speaks of ten pillars ranged round the tomb, supporting arches, and goes on to describe an altar (which may be the representative of the present altar of the Copts standing to the west of the Chapel of the Sepulchre) 'at His head, which was turned towards the west,' the altar being 'surrounded by partition walls, doors, and locks of iron, with lattice-work p677 of cypress-wood decorated with various paintings, and with a roof of the same kind, and similarly decorated, resting upon the walls. . . . The roof of the work itself is formed of slabs of gilt copper, with a round opening in the middle, round which stand small pillars in a circle, carrying small arches above them, which support a cup-shaped roof. Above the roof itself is a gilded cross, and above the cross is a dove, likewise gilded.' In front of the sepulchre and the ante-chapel is the Altar of the Holy Sepulchre, under what is spoken of by John of Würzburg as 'a kind of square canopy.' The Church of the Anastasis (if we may still retain the name) around the sepulchre is surrounded as formerly by a series of columns and piers supporting the clerestory and cutting off the aisle which runs round the ancient rock wall. At the points where this semicircular wall ends, the aisle stretches north and south to the side chapels which retain their former position. The first of the three chapels to the south now, however, formed the base of a great campanile of five stories, the three lower of which still exist. We do not know what was its exact form as it was originally built, as the descriptions of it are quite unsatisfactory and contradictory in their details. A drawing by Breydenbach (1483) represents the tower as surmounted by a leaden octagonal dome, but Professor Willis has shown that these drawings are not trustworthy; in 1586 a view by Zuallardo has no roof; the two upper stories were, however, still standing in 1678 according to a drawing by De Bruyn.a
The distinctive work of the crusaders, however, lay beyond the Church of the Resurrection and its side chapels, consisting in the erection of a great church over the larger part of the rest of the area, extending from the Anastasis eastwards beyond the rock of Calvary to the line of the depression in the rock which is now known as the Chapel of St. Helena, and in breadth covering the area from the old northern cloister to a line to the south of Calvary and contiguous to the northern wall of the campanile. The junction with the Anastasis was effected by cutting away the eastern apse with the small chancel leading to it, at the great arched entrance which was retained, this arch (now known as 'The Imperial') forming the junction between the rotunda and the choir of the great church. The most striking feature of the choir was its central lantern, standing (in Professor Willis's words) on four noble piers, the centres of which were distant forty feet from east to west, and forty-three from north to south, while their height from base to capital was fifty-two feet. The proportions and the form of the piers were strictly Romanesque. On these piers pointed arches were supported, on which the lantern was raised crowned with a cupola, the highest point of which was 114 feet above the pavement. The eastern arch of this tower opened, on the presbytery of the church, which ended in a semicircular apse, p678 the altar occupying the centre of the diametral line. The whole length of the choir and presbytery was all but one hundred feet, the breadth forty. The northern and southern arches of the tower connected the choir with the transepts; the northern transept extended to the old northern cloisters, embracing two of the columns in its closing arches, while the southern filled up the space to the west of the Adam chapel. Around the whole church, thus completed, there stretched a great processional aisle, the western end of which was the aisle of the rotunda, the northern being the old cloister, the eastern surrounding the presbytery and having three large apses, while the Adam chapel forms part of the aisle around the southern transept. This aisle had three small chapels in its eastern end as a sort of apses,º and between the eastern and the south-eastern of these was a staircase which led down to the Chapel of St. Helena, the passage being partly cut in the rock, and the floor of the chapel being nearly sixteen feet below that of the rotunda.
The Chapel of St. Helena (which is practically unchanged since the crusading times) in all probability represents in some of its details the old basilica of Constantine, as the depression of the rock must have been unaltered, and apparently the crusaders were able largely to avail themselves of ruined columns and arches which remained on the spot. On descending the steps we enter the chapel through a vestibule (or narthex) which occupies the western end, and we find that it is divided into three aisles, the central of which is crowned by a cupola, while the northern as well as the central ends in an apse. The southern aisle could not be similarly closed, as, at the point where its apse would lie, a staircase leads down eleven feet to the subterranean Chapel of the Invention of the Cross, an irregularly shaped pentagonal cutting in the rock about twenty feet across, evidently an old cistern. These two chapels remain to‑day in practically the same condition as the crusaders assigned to them.
Turning now to the supposed site of the crucifixion on the rock of Calvary which rises up on the south-east side of the whole enclosure, to the east of the southern transept of the crusaders' church, we naturally find much labour expended on the erection of a new chapel on the summit of the rock and on the ornamentation of that chapel and the lower chapel of Adam or Golgotha. A staircase led up to Calvary from the processional aisle to the west of its southern apse, while another led from the outside of the southern transept, close to the present entrance to the whole buildings. Considerable variation has taken place in this part of the buildings, but this cannot be made intelligible without a plan, while even with a plan it is not easy to show the connexions, as the floor of Calvary is at an intermediate height between that of the church and the triforium. On Calvary was the Chapel of the Exaltation of the Cross as well as that p679 of the Crucifixion, where the three holes were shown in which the three crosses were fixed, the central being exactly above the fissure in the rock through which the blood of Christ flowed to the skull of Adam buried in the lower chapel. The Chapel of Melchizedek stood to the east of Calvary. At the entrance to the Adam chapel there were buried the first two Latin kings of Jerusalem, the tomb of Godfrey being against the north pier, and that of Baldwin I against the southern, while the other Christian kings were buried in the immediate neighbourhood. These tombs were largely injured in 1244 by the Kharizmian invaders, and some time later by the Greeks on account of their commemorating Latin kings, while after the fire in 1808 they were wholly destroyed from the same motive. It may be of interest to notice that the inscription on the tomb of Godfrey (a roof-shaped stone of fine porphyry on four twisted columns standing on a slab of marble) was not originally that which is usually quoted from Quaresmius, but according to 'Fetellus' was to this effect: —
Marvellous star, here lies Duke Godfrey,
Egypt's terror, putter to flight of Arabs, scatterer of Persians;
Though elected king, king he would not be entitled
Nor crowned: but he was 'the slave of Christ.'
His was the care to restore to Syon her rights,
And as a Catholic to follow the sacred dogmas of right and equity;
All schism to put away from around him, and to cherish right.
Thus also with the saints could he deserve a diadem —
The army's mirror, the people's strength, the clergy's anchor.
The erection of these buildings is commonly stated to have been begun in the year 1103, and finished in 1150. The account of the churches given by 'Fetellus' would suggest that the former date is too early, as it represents (in 1130) the Church of the Sepulchre as having four gates on the east, makes no mention of any buildings on Calvary, and merely states that on the site where Helena found the cross, 'a large church is building.' M. de Vogüé has arrived at the date of 15 July 1149 as that of the consecration of the church, his conclusion being founded on the restoration of an inscription upon Calvary in golden letters, part of which is given by John of Würzburg, and part by Quaresmius. The whole work cannot have been accomplished then, and from the 'Cartulary of the Holy Sepulchre' he deduces the period from 1167 to 1169 as that within which the crusading works were actually finished. Yet the description of them given by Idrisi in 1154 shows that they were practically carried out at that time. Both he and 'Ali of Herat in 1178 speak of the church as one of the wonders of the world. Its future history till the beginning of the present century is for the most part a painful record of strife between different sections of the Christian church for the possession of special sites and on this p680 we shall not enter. On the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187, although some accounts speak of his pillaging the Church of the Sepulchre, there is no reason to believe that any damage was done to it; its escape, however, was but a narrow one, and according to some authorities,'12 it was locked up and no Christian allowed to enter it.' This, however, is contrary to the tenor of the description in the 'Citez de Jherusalem,' which represents the various Latin services in the Anastasis and Calvary and the crusaders' choir, as going on uninterruptedly after the capture of the city. Yet at the close of the third crusade (1188‑1192), when the English crusaders went up unarmed to Jerusalem, the bishop of Salisbury had granted to him as a special favour that two Latin priests should be permitted to serve at the Anastasis.13 Shortly after this, in 1211, Wilbrand of Oldenburg in his 'Itinerary' describes the buildings, noticing the white and polished marble covering of the loculus, with the three openings through which it might be kissed. In 1225 we have, in a different field, the great Geographical Lexicon of Yâkût, in which he speaks of the Kumâmah as being 'beyond description for beauty and for its great riches and wonderful architecture,' and alludes to various details. Unimportant from our present point of view is the visit of Frederick II in 1229, when, having by his treaty with the Saracens received the whole of Jerusalem except the Sakhra, he entered the deserted Church of the Sepulchre and, taking the crown from the altar, put it on his own head, the last of the Christian kings of Jerusalem.14 But only a few years later, 1244, a very different host from Frederick's entered the Holy City, when it was captured by the ferocious Kharizmians. The record of their acts is written in a letter sent to Europe by the patriarch of Jerusalem, in which he tells of the marble pavement that encircled the Sepulchre of the Resurrection being torn up, of Calvary and the whole church being defiled beyond description, of the sculptured columns around the tomb being carried off to adorn the tomb of Mohammed, and of the tombs of the kings being violated and their bones scattered. How far the work of destruction was carried we scarcely know; Makrîsî speaks of the church as being destroyed, but this at all events is a huge exaggeration. Nor are we acquainted with the history of its restoration for many years. A little light is thrown on the state of the buildings in 1336 by William of Baldensel in his 'Hodoeporicon ad Terrain Sanctam,' where he describes the appearance of the sepulchre with some detail: —
In the middle of the church is a little hut (parvula domuncula), into which one has to enter with the head bent on account of the lowness of the door which is towards the east: but above it is vaulted in the form of a semi-circle, p681 decorated with mosaic work, gold, and marbles, having no window but being lighted with candles and a lamp. On the right side of this hut is the place of the Lord's sepulture, touching the extremities of the above-named casa in length, i.e. from east to west, its length being nine average palms, while the breadth of the monument (i.e. the loculus) and also the remainder of the rest of the space of the hut, extends in breadth on both sides about six average palms; about twelve palms may be the height of the above-named hut. And it must be observed that the monument placed above that most holy place is not that in which the most sacred body of Christ was, when lifeless, laid originally; because, as the sacred saying attests, the monument of Christ was cut out in the living rock, in the same way as was customary in the monuments of the ancients, specially in these districts; while that is composed of several pieces of rock, newly put together with cement, less artificially and less closely than is decent. But, whatever may be the case with this, that place of the sepulchre of Christ cannot be moved in any way from its form, but remains and will remain for ever immovable.
About the same time as William of Baldensel is the Itinerarium of Symeon Symeonis who, as quoted by Professor Willis, refers to the marble covering with its three openings, and, as his date is 1322, we have here another instance of the extreme difficulty of piecing together the descriptions of different writers. We tread on somewhat firmer ground when we come to the time of Felix Fabri, 1483, whom Professor Willis does but justice to when he calls him an exceedingly minute and gossiping describer. His account of his first visit to the church as translated for the Pal. Pil. Text Soc., extends over one hundred pages, and although we could well have exchanged much that he tells us for a short exact statement as to other matters, we do get from him a good deal of important information. As to the sepulchre itself, one imagines that his information ought to be more exact than is common in ancient (or even in most modern) works, as he tells us that he had with him 'the account which a respectable man named Johannes Tucher, a citizen of Nuremburg, has written in the German tongue,' and that he compared his narrative and measurements with the actual objects described while on a second pilgrimage he was accompanied by 'that noble and clever man, the Lord Bernard von Braitenbach, Dean of the Metropolitan Church of Mainz,' whose work has been already referred to and will call for further notice. We may quote as of special importance Felix Fabri's statement that he examined the sepulchre most closely with a lighted candle, to see if there was any part that was not covered with marble.
I found that on the outside the whole of it was cased in marble all the way round. When I entered the first door into the outer chapel, I found the walls on either side covered with marble, but I found that the wall before my face, that which divides the outer cave from the inner one, and in which is the door leading into the Lord's sepulchre, was bare; and on holding my light near it I saw a wall cut out of the rock, not made of p682 ashlar work, but all of one piece, with the marks of iron tools plainly to be seen upon it. In the upper part there seemed to have been a fracture, which had been mended with stones and cement. From this it appeared to me that the Lord's sepulchre had once been destroyed, but never completely rooted up; that what is now there is a restoration, and that it has stood for more than 200 years as it appears this day, save that it is now more carefully encased with marble, lest the pilgrims should pick off pieces from the walls for relics.
Previously, however, to the pilgrimage of Felix Fabri, about 1450, the Christians of Jerusalem and their churches had been once more persecuted and devastated in the reign of the Sultan, Al Malik adh Dhâhir Chakmak, when the new constructions in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre were demolished.15 Much damage cannot have been done, else we had found traces of it in the narrative of our gossiping traveller, or in that of Breydenbach who has been mentioned already, and whose wort, published in 1502, is the first that professes to give accurate drawings of the different buildings.
The conjecture may be hazarded that, partly as the result of successive acts of violence deliberately planned against the buildings, partly in consequence of the difficulty of making any repairs, during these three and a half centuries, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre had by the middle of the sixteenth century fallen into great disrepair. And in 1555 we find that Father Bonifacius Stephanius, of Ragusa, the prefect of the Convent of St. Francis at Jerusalem, and guardian of the Holy Land, was instructed by Pope Julius III, at the instance and the expense of the Emperor Charles V and his son Philip, to restore the buildings, leave for this having been purchased from the Sultan after long negotiations. Boniface (in a letter which Quaresmius has copied from Gretser's Apologia pro sancta Cruce) speaks of the Church as having nearly fallen, and he says that it seemed necessary to level the structure with the ground, 'in order that the mass which was to be restored should arise the more firmly and endure more permanently than that which was destroyed;' on this being done the sepulchre was laid bare, and a painting of two angels was seen upon it but speedily disappeared upon exposure. One of the marble slabs upon the loculus had to be removed, and he found that it had concealed a piece of wood wrapped up in a napkin, which he placed in the Chapel of the Apparition, where it was long preserved; the napkin fell to dust on its exposure. The question arises, what exactly it is that Boniface here speaks of as taken down, and we may best leave it unanswered; he may have rebuilt the whole of the erection over the tomb, or he may speak only of the Angel Chapel, as Professor Willis thinks; but, in either case, he must have restored it to its former position, as the description given by Breydenbach fifty years previously agrees, so far as one can judge, with that given by later p683 writers. The Angel Chapel, however, is now represented as almost semicircular, instead of being 'almost square' as John of Würzburg described it. The marble covering of the loculus appears to have been changed at this time, as we do not find any later reference to the three holes left in it.
Again in the beginning of the seventeenth century there was need for the repair and the improvement of the buildings, the work being undertaken by the Greek patriarch Sophronius V and being carried out by his successor, Theophanes. Yet in 1620 we read of fear being entertained that the whole would fall; and nearly half a century later, in 1664, the name of the Greek patriarch Nectarius is associated with the restoration of the churches. Further operations were called for in 1719, but from the time of Stephanius to the beginning of the present century we have no alterations of moment to record. Dissension among the sects reigned throughout and introduced certain changes; for example, either during this period or at an earlier date, the possibility of passing round the whole edifice from end to end in the triforium was put an end to, divisional walls being built to separate the portion of one sect from that of another. There must have been need for repair, but the accounts which have come to us from such writers as Father Bernardino Amico, who in 1620 published the only strictly architectural account of the buildings of the epoch ('Trattato delle Piante et Immagini de' Sacri Edifizi di Terra Sancta'), John Zuallardo, who to some extent anticipated him in 1587, De Bruyn, Quaresmius, whose 'Elucidatio Terræ Sanctæ' (Antwerp, 1639) is a marvellous storehouse of information for the period, and such later writers as Shaw and Pococke and Clarke, show comparatively little change in even the details of the buildings.
In the year 1808 the history of a considerable portion of the buildings of the Church of the Sepulchre was closed by a great fire which began in the Armenian church in the triforium of the rotunda, from which it passed over a great part of the whole area. It is difficult to learn what exactly was destroyed by it, as the jealousy of the sects is very apparent in the accounts that were given. In the rotunda the effects were most apparent, the whole building being either burned or ruined by the falling cupola, with the exception of the sepulchre itself. In the crusaders' church the central cupola was split, but the aisle surrounding the choir was largely saved. The Chapel of St. Helena escaped uninjured, but the chapels of Calvary were destroyed or seriously injured. The side chapels at the western end were not touched.
The restoration of the buildings was entrusted to a Greek architect of Constantinople, Commenes, who, in spite of countless difficulties put in his way by renewed squabbling, completed his p684 work so quickly that the church was consecrated on 11 Sept. 1810. The way in which he did so calls down the strongest indignation of M. de Vogüé, in which the old feud of Greek and Frank plays a certain part. But we do not require to prolong our historical sketch by a description of these buildings, which will be more fitly looked for in the pages of a modern guide book. They follow out very much the same lines as those of the crusading erections. The only variations that we need mention are in connexion with the sepulchre itself. The Angel Chapel has been completely renewed, and is now square instead of semicircular, with only one entrance on the east instead of the three spoken of formerly. To the west of the sepulchre is the Chapel of the Copts, which may represent the altar spoken of at the head of the tomb, but is now of a much more permanent character. Otherwise the main buildings retain the same appearance practically as they did when the crusaders finished their work.
Reference ought perhaps to be made, before closing, to the theory asserted by the late Mr. James Fergusson, whose great architectural skill and knowledge are so unfortunately associated with the idea that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a medieval fraud, and that the Sakhra (the Dome of the Rock) is the actual building of the Emperor Constantine. It is needless now to say one word to add to the overwhelming proof that not a single argument of weight can be adduced in his favour, and that every evidence that is available is opposed to him. The history of the Sakhra is better known now than when he wrote, and in the present day the assertion of his theory is inconceivable. But even when he wrote one can only say with M. de Vogüé that the only possible excuse for his theory would be that he had never seen the buildings which he professed to criticise.
The history of the buildings which, from the time of Constantine the Great, have in succession been erected on the traditional sites of the crucifixion, the sepulchre, and the invention of the cross, is thus practically a continuous one. Each century has afforded us some narrative of a pilgrim who not only visited the holy places, but also left on record a statement of what he saw. The pilgrim was not a critic; he went, as his tourist successors go still, not to investigate the actual facts of history or topography, but to see the sites that interested him, and with the further aim of devotion and of piety. And if one cannot study the records of the successive ages without a smile at the credulity of men who must have been among the best educated of their time, one recognises at the same time their real historical value, and one wonders not so much at partial difficulties attaching to them as at the comparative ease with which, within certain limits, one can deduce from them the history of the Church of the Resurrection for a period of more than sixteen hundred years.
J. R. Macpherson.
1 The whole evidence as to Helena's connexion with the discovery of the sepulchre is most carefully stated in the article upon her in Smith's Dictionary of Christian Biography, II.882 ff.
2 Theodosius also refers to this altar 'of gold and silver,' with 'nine golden columns which support' it, in connexion with the basilica, where the three crosses were found.
3 At the extreme west point of the triforium there is the mark of the door by which the church was entered from the adjoining street before the Mohammedan occupation.
4 The day is still celebrated in most of the churches both of the west and of the east, and is observed in the English Calendar.
5 The name 'Kumâmah' (dunghill) was always given to the church by the Mohammedans, being a designed corruption of the word for resurrection, 'kayâmah'.
6 Besant and Palmer, History of Jerusalem, p106.
7 Palestine under the Moslems, p204.
8 Jerusalem, pp111 ff.
9 Quoted by Le Strange, p204.
10 Besant and Palmer, pp146 ff.
12 Besant, Jerusalem, p486.
13 Ibid. p414.
14 See Milman's History of Latin Christianity, vol. IV, and Besant, pp606 ff.
15 Williams, I.442. Besant and Palmer, pp487, ff.
a The printed text has Le Bruyn here, although further on in the article, his name will be given correctly. The Dutch artist Cornelis de Bruijn is meant, whose life, works, and travels in the Orient are splendidly covered in fifteen webpages at Livius.Org; Part 5 includes one of his drawings of the Holy Sepulchre.
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