All posts tagged: Holy Land

The Myth of Original Christianity and the Holy Sepulcher’s Immovable Ladder

“The Holy Land”—the modern state of Israel and the West Bank—is a space sacred not for its singularity in relation to the rest of the globe, but rather for its iconic representation of the human drama, condensed into a pressure cooker of 27,736 square kilometers or 10,709 square miles. To provide a sense of scale: Texas is 268,597 square miles, New York State is 54,556 square miles, and Indiana is 36,418 square miles. Located in the heart of this Maryland-sized plot of land, the Old City of Jerusalem takes up a mere 0.9 square kilometers or 0.35 square miles. Within this city, whose area is one-fifth the size of the University of Notre Dame’s campus, there is a piecemeal basilica-church which occupies approximately 0.007 square kilometers or 0.003 square miles. Since Constantine reclaimed it for the local Christian community in the 4th century, that church, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, has been a keenly cherished destination for Christian pilgrims. Just as Israel/Palestine is a crux for crises wrought by human frailty and power compressed …

A House Built on the Rock

Tucked into the eastern slope of Mount Zion is a beautiful church called St. Peter in Gallicantu (Peter at Cockcrow). It boasts beautiful, panoramic views of the city from its expansive grounds, which reveal the rolling contours of the Judean hills still undulating gracefully beneath the urban development which saddles them. The church’s location on the mountain’s shoulder does more than invite visitors to admire the view. Through its multiple levels, built one upon the other, St. Peter in Gallicantu invites pilgrims on a journey through its architectural explication of redemptive love. A visit to the church begins at its base, under the foundations. At this deepest level of the church, a visitor can access the archeological excavations which were traditionally believed to be the system of prisons underneath (or nearby) the first century house of the high priest Caiaphas, in which Jesus was kept the night of his arrest. The site was venerated by early Christians, as witnessed by the fourth century Pilgrim of Bordeaux, who, in 333, bears testimony to this site, remarking …