Friday, January 27, 2012

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity + the Chapel of Adam

Apparently visitors to the Western Wall are not the only ones who write letters to God and stick them between the stones.

This nun in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is collecting some notes left by Christian pilgrims with her brush and dustpan.
Reaching the ones under the glass floor might be more complicated.
Every year the various Churches have a week of prayer for Christian unity.
In the Northern Hemisphere this is in January.
In the Holy Land Christians wait until after Armenian Christmas, so this year the week of prayer is January 21-29.
Every day, the common liturgy is hosted by one of the cathedrals of the different communities.
Jerusalem's Week of Prayer started, of course, at Anastasis (Church of the Holy Sepulchre), in the Calvary chapel, with the Greek Orthodox Office of “Apodeipnon”(Compline).
The following days were at the Anglican Cathedral of St. George, the Armenian Cathedral of St. James, the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, the Latin Patriarchate’s Church, then the Upper Room (Cenacle).
Tonight all are invited to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and tomorrow to St. Anthony’s Church, Coptic Orthodox.
The week ends on Sunday at the Greek Catholic Church of Annunciation.
But getting back to our nun in the photo . . .
She tends the Chapel of Adam which lies directly under the chapels at the summit of Calvary, where the cross was raised.
The New Testament says that when Jesus gave up the ghost, "The earth shook and the rocks split."
The rock you see behind a glass in the wall, reflected* in the glass altar top, is indeed a cracked slab.
Christian tradition maintains that Adam was buried at the base of the Rock of Golgotha.
When the rock split, a drop of blood from Jesus' wounds seeped through and touched Adam's skull, thus bringing redemption to the first sinner.
And I thought it apropos for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity what Yad Ben-Zvi's guidebook notes:

"The Chapel, which is situated on the traditional burial place of Adam, exactly under the location of the crucifixion, was much sought after as a burial site by the Catholic Crusader kings. The Greek Orthodox, however, who were hostile to the Catholics, destroyed these tombs at the first opportunity, during the course of the renovations carried out after the great fire in 1808."
(*The rock's reflection is for Weekend Reflections and the slight shadow of the nun's head on the wall is for Shadow Shot Sunday 2.)


Laura said...

Interesting history Dina and a lovely photo...the nun seems so fragile bent over near these ancient stones. I wonder what she does with the notes?

Shabbat Shalom from NH.

Sara said...

I never cease to be amazed...very interesting history and legends, all new to me. Unity seems so elusive...I guess I am not feeling very optimistic today. I had better join in those prayers this week I think!

Pat said...

This is fascinating, Dina. I can't wait to see this in person next December. I did not know about the week of prayer for Christian unity...I guess because I'm a protestant. Wonderful reflection and shadow!

mirae said...

hello beautiful Dina, this is amazingly beautiful this week of prayer for unity.
this is the efflorescent flower of religion blossoming in christ's blood the suffering andthe forgiveness of the crucifixion to redeem all.
what powerful meditation to consider that the drop of christs blood should reach Adam and therefore all the generations that follow.It is like the creation of man all over again.
It think that religion is a very powerful force and if all the religions could unite,all with keeping their individual essence then this is the perfumed essence for the planet.
because religion can be excluding.


Pietro said...

So interesting, Dina. And the image is really fascinating.

crystal said...

Interesting - there are so many different Christian denominations in Jersalem! The week of praying for Christian unity is kind if interesting too - it seems to mean different things to different Christian groups. Fighting over prime tomb space isn't a good sign of unity ;)

Cloudia said...

internecine brotherhood!

Warm ShAloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

VP said...

I have seen this practice also in some churches in Italy. One is, if I remember well, Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Letters to God ending up in the dust pan...

There must be a story or quirky poem waiting there!

Shadowy Hummingbird Heaven

Kelly said...

This is so interesting!! I've never heard that before about Adam. As for the photo... I especially like the reflection from the glass top.

Kay said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful history of this special place.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Beautiful shadowy textures on the wall! And love the darkness surrounding the bending nun! A most interesting, informative post! So wish world unity was a habit, a daily practice!

Robert Geiss said...

Made me wonder of the many thoughts, wishes and hopes that came together throughout the many centuries ... what 'force'.

Thank you for teaching me something that I did not know. Please have a good Sunday.

chubskulit said...

I don't know about the week of prayer, thanks for sharing.

In behalf of Gemma and Magical Mystical Teacher, I thank you for playing Shadow Shot Sunday 2. - Rose

Shadows by the Beach, come and see.

LV said...

A most interesting and informative shadow post.

mirae said...

and I like the elasticity of this idea of unifying of religions.

I have always said that I have my own personal interpretations of the liturgy and I reject the parts of the bible that are violent etc.

I was impressed by our little church booklet today.sometimes I attend a small french church that is a historical jewel as I did today and the sunday booklet is great for meditation.
Today it read that the catholic church must learn to reject catholic teachings that are harmful in modern times. There should be open debate on-should priests be allowed to marry, women in the priesthood, allowing divorced people into the church-
wow those are big changes for the catholic church but that elasticity is a necessity...

mirae said...

ps have a beautiful day beautiful Dina, shalom

jewaicious said...

I like the history behind the photo. And, the photo is lovely, filled with nice textures and contrasts.

Spiderdama said...

This is a very beautiful post and interesting. I`v not heard about it..
All prayers is good:-)

Hope you have a blessed week Dina!

mirae said...

Yes the publisher of these small books I referred to is NOVALIS -canada's publisher of religious books.
These booklets are put out weekly, they contain liturgy and biblical quotes and well written spiritual articles.
They are either printed in french or english and distributed to the churches for example.
The publisher distributors also destribute Jewish Lights.

anyway, I guess what I am trying to say it is an authoritative text.

Kay L. Davies said...

Rather sad, really, to think of trusting people writing their notes to God, not knowing a nun will sweep them up into a dustpan.
My husband (a Jewish agnostic) is talking about a cruise that includes Israel and Egypt, and I am of two minds about it. A friend from my church says her visit a few years ago to the Holy Land was wonderful, and I'm tempted, but I'm not very sure about Egypt.
Decisions, decisions.

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Very interesting and beautiful post.
I like your photo.

Regards and best wishes

JM said...

Look at all the notes under the glass!