(PHOTOS, VIDEO): New images reveal the £3 million restoration of Christ's burial shrine that contains the slab on which 'Jesus was resurrected after crucifixion'

Source: Daily Mail

November 24, 2016

The limestone slab where Jesus' body was said to have been laid out after his crucifixion was revealed last month for the first time since at least 1555 AD.

After removing the slab that encased the tomb, scientists were stunned to find the burial shelf intact and a second marble slab with a cross carved into its surface.

The tomb was opened and resealed within 60 hours during work being done at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Now, new images have emerged revealing the restoration work on the stones that cover the outside of the tomb as well as an 18th century shrine known as the 'Edicule'.

A view of the tomb and its shrine, surrounded by construction works. The burial slab was enclosed in an 18th century shrine structure known as the Edicule – a word derived from the Latin term aedicule meaning 'little house'. These steel girders supporting the Edicule will be removed when restoration work is finished next spring A view of the tomb and its shrine, surrounded by construction works. The burial slab was enclosed in an 18th century shrine structure known as the Edicule – a word derived from the Latin term aedicule meaning 'little house'. These steel girders supporting the Edicule will be removed when restoration work is finished next spring
    

The Edicule - a word derived from the Latin term aedicule meaning 'little house' - was last reconstructed after a fire in the early 1800s.

The Greek Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Armenian Orthodox Church agreed in 1958 that conservation of the Edicule was needed.

But it's taken almost 50 years to get the $4 million (£3.2 million) of funding needed to restore it.

In the 1940s, iron bars were installed to keep the Edicule structure upright until the project started.

Now a team of engineers is injecting mortar around the marble slabs that make up the Edicule so that supports will no longer be needed.

Researchers were given the unprecedented access to the inside of the tomb within the Edicule as part of restoration work that started in October this year.

The team was shocked to find portions of the tomb are still intact today, having survived centuries of damage.  

Until then, marble had encased the slab since at least 1555 AD, and likely centuries earlier.

A view of the restoration work of stones from the Jesus tomb at the lab in the Franciscan Church at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Edicule - a word derived from the Latin term aedicule meaning 'little house' - was last reconstructed after a fire in the early 1800s A view of the restoration work of stones from the Jesus tomb at the lab in the Franciscan Church at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Edicule - a word derived from the Latin term aedicule meaning 'little house' - was last reconstructed after a fire in the early 1800s
    

A Franciscan friar stands next to the tomb of Jesus Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the old city of Jerusalem. The tomb has now been resealed and will probably not be opened again for hundreds, possibly even thousands, of years A Franciscan friar stands next to the tomb of Jesus Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the old city of Jerusalem. The tomb has now been resealed and will probably not be opened again for hundreds, possibly even thousands, of years
    

When work first began, the conservation team from the National Technical University of Athens showed only a layer of material underneath the marble slab.

But as researchers continued their work over the course of 60 hours - and with just a few hours left before the tomb was to be resealed, another marble slab with a cross carved into its surface was exposed.  

The team cut a window into the southern interior wall of the Edicule, exposing one of the cave walls.

The tomb has now been resealed and will probably not be opened again for hundreds, possibly even thousands, of years. But before it was resealed, the surface of the rock was extensively catalogued.

Work on restoration of the Edicule is expected to continue for at least the next five months.

A view of the restoration works at the north wall of the tomb. The large archaeologist operation started on October as part of the conservation work in what believed to be the tomb of Jesus Christ A view of the restoration works at the north wall of the tomb. The large archaeologist operation started on October as part of the conservation work in what believed to be the tomb of Jesus Christ
  

According to Christian tradition, Jesus body was laid on a shelf in a limestone cave following his crucifixion by the Romans in AD 30 According to Christian tradition, Jesus body was laid on a shelf in a limestone cave following his crucifixion by the Romans in AD 30
  

The restoration work of stones from the Jesus tomb. The team cut a window into the southern interior wall of the Edicule, exposing one of the cave walls The restoration work of stones from the Jesus tomb. The team cut a window into the southern interior wall of the Edicule, exposing one of the cave walls
  

Antonia Moropoulou, professor at the National Technical University of Athens and the Chief Scientific Coordinator of the restoration project, shown left. A Christian pilgrim praying outside the Church, shown right Antonia Moropoulou, professor at the National Technical University of Athens and the Chief Scientific Coordinator of the restoration project, shown left. A Christian pilgrim praying outside the Church, shown right
  

Christian pilgrims pray outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Christian tradition says Christ's body was laid on a slab cut from a limestone cave after his crucifixion by the Romans Christian pilgrims pray outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Christian tradition says Christ's body was laid on a slab cut from a limestone cave after his crucifixion by the Romans
    

'I'm absolutely amazed. My knees are shaking a little bit because I wasn't expecting this,' said Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist-in-residence at National Geographic, after opening up the tomb.

'We can't say 100 per cent, but it appears to be visible proof that the location of the tomb has not shifted through time, something that scientists and historians have wondered for decades.'

'This is the Holy Rock that has been revered for centuries, but only now can actually be seen,' said Antonia Moropoulou of the National Technical University of Athens, who is leading the restoration of the Edicule.

'The architectural conservation which we are implementing is intended to last forever,' says Moropoulou.  

National Geographic has been filming the work being done at the church, which is considered the most sacred site in Christianity.

Work on restoration of the Edicule is expected to continue for at least the next five months. Broken or fragile pieces will be replaced and those sections which can be preserved will be cleaned, and the support structures reinforced Work on restoration of the Edicule is expected to continue for at least the next five months. Broken or fragile pieces will be replaced and those sections which can be preserved will be cleaned, and the support structures reinforced
    

The shrine is being carefully restored. Its marble slabs have weakened over centuries, with the weight of thousands of daily visitors adding to the strain The shrine is being carefully restored. Its marble slabs have weakened over centuries, with the weight of thousands of daily visitors adding to the strain
    

Christian pilgrims pass next to the tomb. National Geographic has been filming the work being done at the church, which is considered the most sacred site in Christianity Christian pilgrims pass next to the tomb. National Geographic has been filming the work being done at the church, which is considered the most sacred site in Christianity
    

A view of the tomb of Jesus Christ. The researchers were shocked to find the second marble slab still intact when they opened up the tomb A view of the tomb of Jesus Christ. The researchers were shocked to find the second marble slab still intact when they opened up the tomb
    

Antonia Moropoulou, professor at Athen's National Technical University of Athens and the Chief Scientific Coordinator of the restoration project (shown right) stands next to ancient stone Antonia Moropoulou, professor at Athen's National Technical University of Athens and the Chief Scientific Coordinator of the restoration project (shown right) stands next to ancient stone
    

Stones taken from the tomb, pictured. The tomb has now been resealed and will probably not be opened again for hundreds, possibly even thousands, of years Stones taken from the tomb, pictured. The tomb has now been resealed and will probably not be opened again for hundreds, possibly even thousands, of years
    

An ornate structure with hanging oil lamps, columns and oversize candlesticks, the Edicule was erected above the spot where Christian tradition says Jesus' body was anointed, wrapped in cloth and buried before his resurrection An ornate structure with hanging oil lamps, columns and oversize candlesticks, the Edicule was erected above the spot where Christian tradition says Jesus' body was anointed, wrapped in cloth and buried before his resurrection
    

The tomb where Jesus Christ's body is said to have been rested was unveiled last month for the first time in centuries. As researchers continued their work over the course of 60 hours, another marble slab with a cross carved into its surface was exposed (pictured). Inscribed with a Christian cross, this broken marble slab may date to the Crusader era The tomb where Jesus Christ's body is said to have been rested was unveiled last month for the first time in centuries. As researchers continued their work over the course of 60 hours, another marble slab with a cross carved into its surface was exposed (pictured). Inscribed with a Christian cross, this broken marble slab may date to the Crusader era
    

A restorer removes debris beneath a broken marble slab to expose the original rock surface of what is considered the burial place of Jesus. The original surface was exposed during the restoration work being done at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem. Until then, marble had encased the slab since at least 1555 AD. A restorer removes debris beneath a broken marble slab to expose the original rock surface of what is considered the burial place of Jesus. The original surface was exposed during the restoration work being done at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem. Until then, marble had encased the slab since at least 1555 AD.
    

Christian tradition says Christ's body was laid on a slab cut from a limestone cave after his crucifixion by the Romans.

He was resurrected three days after his death, according to scripture, and the women who came to anoint his body said no remains were found.

The evidence for this is not definitive, however, according to Dan Bahat, a former district archaeologist in Jerusalem and in Galilee.

'We may not be absolutely certain that the site of the Holy Sepulchre Church is the site of Jesus burial, but we certainly have no other site that can lay a claim nearly as weighty, and we really have no reason to reject the authenticity of the site,' Bahat said.

An ornate structure with hanging oil lamps, columns and oversize candlesticks, the Edicule was erected above the spot where Christian tradition says Jesus' body was anointed, wrapped in cloth and buried before his resurrection.

It stands a few hundred yards from the supposed site of Jesus' crucifixion.

The burial slab (pictured being revealed from its marble case last month) many Christians believe once held the body of Jesus Christ has been uncovered by scientists for the first time in centuries. The original surface, partially shown in this picture, was exposed during restoration work at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem The burial slab (pictured being revealed from its marble case last month) many Christians believe once held the body of Jesus Christ has been uncovered by scientists for the first time in centuries. The original surface, partially shown in this picture, was exposed during restoration work at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem
    

Christian tradition says Christ's body was laid on a slab cut from a limestone cave after his crucifixion by the Romans more than two thousand years ago. This slab had been encased in marble since at least 1555 AD. Worshippers are pictured praying to the slab underneath the marble casing, before it was uncovered Christian tradition says Christ's body was laid on a slab cut from a limestone cave after his crucifixion by the Romans more than two thousand years ago. This slab had been encased in marble since at least 1555 AD. Worshippers are pictured praying to the slab underneath the marble casing, before it was uncovered
    

An ornate structure with hanging oil lamps, columns and oversize candlesticks, the Edicule was erected above the spot where Christian tradition says Jesus' body was anointed. With its stone staircases, gilded ornamentation and many dark chambers, the church is one of Christianity's holiest shrines An ornate structure with hanging oil lamps, columns and oversize candlesticks, the Edicule was erected above the spot where Christian tradition says Jesus' body was anointed. With its stone staircases, gilded ornamentation and many dark chambers, the church is one of Christianity's holiest shrines
    

With its stone staircases, gilded ornamentation and many dark chambers, the church is one of Christianity's holiest shrines.

But that hasn't stopped clerics from engaging in turf rivalries over the years.

The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches are responsible for maintaining separate sections, and each denomination jealously guards its domain.

While the clergymen who work and pray at the church generally get along, tensions can rise to the surface.

In 2008, an argument between Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks erupted into a brawl.

This time, the clergymen put aside their differences — a reflection of the dire need for the repairs.

Last year, Israeli police briefly shut down the building after Israel's Antiquities Authority deemed it unsafe, prompting the Christian denominations to join forces.

The Edicule and the tomb are currently being restored by scientists from the National Technical University of Athens.

The university's chief scientific supervisor Professor Antonia Moropoulou told National Geographic that it is 'the critical moment' for restoring the Edicule.

The original surface was exposed during the restoration work being done at the Church (left, in June, and right, in May) The original surface was exposed during the restoration work being done at the Church (left, in June, and right, in May)
  

This photo shows what the tomb of Jesus in the Holy Sepulchre church has looked like for the past 200 years. It was last reconstructed in the early 19th century after a fire destroyed it. But repairs were long overdue as the structure it was damaged in an earthquake in 1927 This photo shows what the tomb of Jesus in the Holy Sepulchre church has looked like for the past 200 years. It was last reconstructed in the early 19th century after a fire destroyed it. But repairs were long overdue as the structure it was damaged in an earthquake in 1927
    

It was last reconstructed in the early 19th century after a fire destroyed it.

But repairs are long overdue as the structure was damaged in an earthquake in 1927.

Earlier this year, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, as well as the the Roman Catholic Church, and the Armenian Orthodox Church (the three main out of six Christian sects that have custody of the church) invited the NTU to lead the restoration project.

The Edicule and the tomb are currently being restored by scientists from the National Technical University of Athens. Using cotton swabs dipped into a solution of liquid soap and water, centuries-old layers of wax and carbon dioxide are scrubbed away by a restoration expert The Edicule and the tomb are currently being restored by scientists from the National Technical University of Athens. Using cotton swabs dipped into a solution of liquid soap and water, centuries-old layers of wax and carbon dioxide are scrubbed away by a restoration expert
    

The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches are responsible for maintaining separate sections, and each denomination jealously guards its domain The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches are responsible for maintaining separate sections, and each denomination jealously guards its domain
    

Work is expected to be complete in the spring of 2017.

The church, one of the world's oldest, was built in 325 A.D. by the Roman Emperor Constantine.

That structure was destroyed in 1009 by Muslim Caliph al-Hakim. A 12th-century restoration by the Crusaders gave the Holy Sepulchre its current appearance, while in 1808 a fire all but destroyed the Edicule.

In 1852, the Ottoman authorities then governing the Holy Land provided a framework for resolving disputes inside the church.

They put into effect the 'status quo,' a set of historic laws and power-sharing arrangements that rigidly regulates the denominations' activities inside the Holy Sepulchre.

Christian nuns watch as renovations of Jesus' tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city began earlier this year Christian nuns watch as renovations of Jesus' tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city began earlier this year
  

Earlier this year, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, as well as the the Roman Catholic Church, and the Armenian Orthodox Church (the three main out of six Christian sects that have custody of the church) invited the NTU to lead the restoration project. Earlier this year, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, as well as the the Roman Catholic Church, and the Armenian Orthodox Church (the three main out of six Christian sects that have custody of the church) invited the NTU to lead the restoration project.
  

While the tomb is stable, it needs urgent attention after years of exposure to environmental factors like water, humidity and candle smoke While the tomb is stable, it needs urgent attention after years of exposure to environmental factors like water, humidity and candle smoke
  

More than two centuries have past since the last time any restoration work was done in the chamber, partly because it is a holy site for many branches of Christianity More than two centuries have past since the last time any restoration work was done in the chamber, partly because it is a holy site for many branches of Christianity
  

The Rev. Athanasius Macora, a Franciscan monk who represents the Catholics at the inter-church commission that negotiates disputes at the Holy Sepulchre, said the renovation might have been more ambitious if not for the status quo rules.

'I personally would have liked to maybe contemplate some alternative to simply restoring the current structure. But because the status quo is so conservative in its nature.

'We had to more or less accept the fact that there would be no change whatsoever to the current structure, and it would be restored as it is now,' he said.

Still, for pilgrims like Italian Claudio Pardini, the restoration is 'an important sign' that all of the Christian churches are getting together to preserve their faith's traditions.

'It's good to take care of our churches so that we can leave the next generations a sign, something to visit,' he said. 'Because Christ isn't an idea. He's a story.'

An ornate marble carving of Jesus Christ decorates the tomb where his body is believed to have been laid An ornate marble carving of Jesus Christ decorates the tomb where his body is believed to have been laid
  

A Franciscan friar peers into the exposed tomb during the conservation work done by a team of Greek team of preservation experts in Jerusalem A Franciscan friar peers into the exposed tomb during the conservation work done by a team of Greek team of preservation experts in Jerusalem
  

The preservation experts placed back the marble slab stone covering the tomb after three days of restoration works as part of the project at the historical holy site Archbishop of Canterbury visits Church of the Holy Sepulchre Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00 Previous Play Skip Mute Current Time 0:00 / Duration Time 1:03 Fullscreen Need Text The preservation experts placed back the marble slab stone covering the tomb after three days of restoration works as part of the project at the historical holy site Archbishop of Canterbury visits Church of the Holy Sepulchre Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00 Previous Play Skip Mute Current Time 0:00 / Duration Time 1:03 Fullscreen Need Text
    

Daily Mail

11/25/2016

Comments
RODNEY PRUITT3/12/2017 7:53 am
Thank you for sharing this with the entire world where Jesus was said to be buried. I am amazed by the fact of these great photos. In the back of my mind I sense that there has to be something very special behind the carved work on the wall where the tomb is located. There are such magic walls that can move with clue trucks providing such hidden space behind the walls. There are more things that most people in the world don't know and this here is just one of the main ones. Loved how the steel structures was put in place protecting this tomb. Very professional with great respect preserving for the humanity's future generations. My name is Rodney Pruitt and again, thank you for sharing this wonderful information about Jesus' resting place. This has totally amazed me and I'm glad to be one of those people to see this place. Thank you Rodney
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