23 March 2017

On Wednesday, 22 March, the week of the Veneration of the Cross, the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ (also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre) in Jerusalem held an official ceremony to mark the completion of the restoration work on the Aedicule. I had the honour of attending this ceremonial event.

For the first time in over 200 years, restoration work was carried out on the most sacred monument in Christianity. The cost was met by private investors who contributed according to their available resources and was made possible after a rare agreement between the six denominations (Catholic, Orthodox and Armenian Gregorian confessions) that are responsible for the upkeep of the Aedicule.

Restorers have been working in the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ for nine months. The main aim of the work was to reinforce and preserve the Aedicule, a small domed chapel that sits at the centre of the Rotunda, above the place where the body of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was buried and rested for three days.

Restoration has not been carried out since 1810, when the shrine was rebuilt after a fire.

His Beatitude Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine, His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land Francesco Patton, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Nourhan Manougian and Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa addressed the guests and bishops at the ceremony. In addition, messages from the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II were read out.

The ceremony in the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ was attended by the representative delegation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Onufriy, who was accompanied by Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, Chief Administrative Officer of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, archbishop of Ternopil and Kremenets Sergius and archbishop of Khust and Vynohradiv Mark.

The unification of all confessions and bishops around the most important mission of the restoration in the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ is an excellent example of the willingness and ability to reach compromise, and readiness to overcome contradictions and disagreements. This example is quite invaluable for our country, which is being torn by a deep split in the hearts and minds of our people. Following this wonderful experience, we can and must achieve peace – the main value for Ukraine.

All related news