Monday, May 30, 2011

Doorway to the Holy Sepulchre

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Louis la Vache in San Francisco recently started posting doorways, and with a nudge from Reader Wil it turned into a new meme, "Monday Doorways."
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This post is also a mini-tour for That's My World Tuesday.
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The grand old portal of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem's Old City.
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It is the only exit/entrance in the huge and often (over-)crowded church and that can be a scary thought.
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When you go out, like these Greek Orthodox clergy were doing yesterday, the bright sunlight almost blinds you after your eyes have been accustomed to the dark interior.
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The Holy Sepulchre was built in 326 and restored and rebuilt by the Crusaders in the 12th century.
It is a world unto itself. I can never be in the Old City without stopping in, just to wander around. There is always an adventure in store.
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UPDATE: Readers who have been there are asking about the locking of the door by the Muslim key-holders. Please see my added info on that in the Comments section.
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21 comments:

Kay said...

I'm so amazed that you're able to find such interesting subjects for these memes. This is perfect.

VP said...

Are the keys still kept by a Muslim?

Hels said...

Important historic doors... I am so glad you caught them in this photo. My favourite time of day was when the Islamic key keepers opened the door with what looked like a huge key.

Dina said...

VP, Hels -- I knew you'd ask about the keys. Hels, you must be a very early riser.

Yes, the Muslim Nuseibeh family still unlocks and locks the church.
Read a wonderful interview with Wajeeh Nuseibeh here:

http://articles.sfgate.com/2005-03-27/news/17365783_1_orthodox-churches-greek-orthodox-priests-syrian-orthodox

In the 12th century, Christians from different denominations fought over who should keep the key to the church where their tradition says Jesus was buried and resurrected. To end the fighting, the Arab conqueror Saladin entrusted the key to the Muslim Nuseibeh and Joudeh families.

On June 20, 1999, there was talk of their soon losing the distinction of being the sole possessors of the key. As this article
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Archaeology/keys.html

says,
"The leaders of all denominations united on Sunday June 20, 1999, in their decision to install a new exit door in the church. The door will be opened as a safety measure for the four million pilgrims expected to visit in the year 2000. Currently, the church has only one door, a factor that contributed to the deaths of dozens of visitors who were trampled to death during a fire in 1840."

HOWEVER, that was 12 years ago and there is still no second door.

You can see how the door is shut from the outside in this short video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs9_p0f1YKU

The people watching are standing in the Parvis (the outside courtyard).

Lesley said...

Having those ordinary sized people standing in the doorway helps to show the scale of these doors!

Reader Wil said...

Thank you Dina for this information of this door and for sharing the video!
I added some extra information to my gate in Cambridge.

Anonymous said...

That's one massive, heavy door! I wonder how hard it is to open and close?
Monday regards from EAGAN

Birdman said...

Wonderful doors for sure. Striking!

Robin said...

The different factions disagree over everything to do with the church, it's hard to imagine them all agreeing on work orders for a new door. Wherever they'd put it it would encroach on someone's space.

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Indrani said...

This is interesting.
We have some temples maintained by Muslims here in India.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

That is quite a remarkable doorway! I'd be visiting often too if I lived nearby...just think of all the people down through the ages who have passed through that very doorway...truly amazing.

Spiderdama said...

Old story, with a beautiful door. And a world inside the door that is worth visiting. Great post!

ρομπερτ said...

To open doors - what a challenge.

May your all steps lead towards peace, light and happiness. Please have a good Tuesday.

Kay L. Davies said...

It's a place I'd love to see, but the thought of only one door brings out all my latent claustrophobia, especially as the door locks from the outside. I may have to be content with your photos, Dina, which I appreciate so much!
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

L. D. Burgus said...

When I saw the doorway, I had to stop by. That is an amazing entrance and yes that is scary that it is the only door.

Louis la Vache said...

What a fantastic post, Dina! Excellent contribution to to Monday Doorways.

Arija said...

Such beautiful old doors. Thank you for posting such wonders which most of us will never have a chance to see for ourselves.

Pietro said...

Great post, Dina. The door is really interesting and impressive.
Sorry, I'm late with the comments.

Rob and Mandy said...

A special place. Did you ever go down to the cistern next door? One of my favorite places in the summer.

Dina said...

Thank you all. I love your comments!

Rob and Mandy, you mean the cistern under the Queen Helen Coptic Orthodox church? Yes, it is a fantastic place! I was there with a nun friend and she took advantage of the acoustics to sing a Psalm in Hebrew.

JM said...

I like the composition on top. The door is gorgeous!