We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

'Little House' of Jesus' tomb to be restored.

The shrine inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre housing the tomb of Jesus, the Aedicule (little house), will be repaired.
The NYTimes reports:
The March 22 agreement (between the Catholic Church and the Armenian and Greek churches) calls for a $3.4 million renovation to begin next month, after Orthodox Easter celebrations. Each religious group will contribute one-third of the costs, and a Greek bank contributed 50,000 euros, or $57,000, for the scaffolding, in return for having its name emblazoned across the machinery.
The idea is to peel away hundreds of years of the shrine’s history, clean it and put it back together.—April 6 NYT
(T)he tomb is believed to have been of the arcosolium type, with a burial bench or shelf parallel to the wall.

If all goes according to plan, the restoration will be completed in approximately eight months beginning May 1st.
The Latin community carries out Eucharistic celebrations inside the Edicule (or Aedicule) each morning between 04.30 and 07.45 (standard time).—Custodia Terræ Sanctæ

Historical Overview [adapted and edited from Custodia Terræa Sanctæ website] — click HERE for a more complete history.

AD 135 circa — Pagan temple erected by Emperor Hadrian over tomb of Jesus. 

Pagan temple torn down. Tomb discovered, possibly identified “by graffiti left by pilgrims before being buried and built over, as many other early Christian shrines bear witness to.”—http://www.holysepulchre.com/eusebius.htm#tomb

Builders carve away the mountain of rock that surrounded the tomb, leaving only the free standing rock-hewn tomb chamber. Over this was built an ædicule (little house) which consisted of two parts: a four columned porch over the forecourt and a five columned octagonal marble structure surrounding the tomb chamber.

AD 335 September 13th — Surrounding the Aedicule was erected an enormous circular basilica. These buildings probably stood intact until 1009.

AD 1009 — Caliph al-Hakim, Muslim ruler of Egypt and Palestine, ordered that all of the Christian churches of the Holy Land be destroyed. The Holy Sepulchre was torn down and much damage was done to the Aedicule. Pilgrims visiting the site shortly after these events seem to indicate that the tomb itself was not completely destroyed and it would appear at least some of the walls and the bench upon which the Lord Jesus Christ was laid was left intact under large piles of debris.


AD 1036 — Re-building of the Church, its chapels and the Aedicule and had begun by Byzantine Emperor Michael IV. The new Church was completed in 1048.

AD 1099 — Crusaders overtook Jerusalem. Construction of a much larger church was immediately begun and continued for thirty years. One building now connects the existing buildings and covers all of the chapels in the surrounding areas, as well as covering the space which had been a courtyard between the tomb and Golgotha.

AD 1555 — Aedicule rebuilt from its foundation by Boniface of Ragusa, Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land.

AD 1808 — Fire damages the church and edicule. Restored buildings rededicated in September of 1810.

AD 1927 — Earthquake damages Aedicule.

AD 1947 — Iron supports added by the British in 1947 to help hold together the Aedicule following damage by the 1927 earthquake.

AD 1868 — Dome of the Rotunda of the Anastasis was completely rebuilt

AD 1997 — Work completed on the inside of the dome.

AD 2016 May — Work begins on restoration of Aedicule.

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