Many times pilgrims enter the dark Church of the Holy Sepuchre for the first time with this question on their lips. We are told that Jesus was crucified OUTSIDE the gates (Roman law) and buried in a new cave in a garden in a hillside. But when you walk into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it doesn't look like this at all.
What you see are stone pillars, dirty, uneven flagstone floors, dark hallways, stairs going "hither and yon," oil lamps burning and black soot all over teh ceilings. Crowds jockey around the various rooms. You hear a cacophony of sounds as various Christian traditions are chanting in their own languages and guides are talking to their groups.
How could this Church be the place where Jesus was crucified, buried and raised from the dead? It is inside the city walls and certainly doesn't look like a garden?.
It was not inside the city walls in the time of Christ, and the Church was built over Golgotha and the Tomb. I found this diagram of the Holy Sepulchre Church so you can see the overlay — what it looked like then and what it looks like now.
This illustration came from an excellent book and I recommend it highly, especially for those planning to visit the Holy Land. You can see the latest edition of Jerusalem & the Holy Land on Amazon.com.
For my past blogs on the Holy Sepulchre, click here. To see a video of our March 2006 Mass in the Holy Sepulchre, click here and scroll down to Day 5. You will also see our trip to Bethlehem. If you want nice computer wallpaper from the Holy Sepulchre, click here.