Where is Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, located in Jerusalem? In their Archaeological Views column “Golgotha: Is the Holy Sepulchre Church Authentic?” in the May/June 2016 issue of BAR, Marcel Serr and Dieter Vieweger discuss past and current investigations into the site where Jesus was crucified.
It’s not just visitors to the island, but also locals, that often don’t realise just how special and treasured the island’s religious heritage really is, with a whopping ten churches on the official UNESCO Heritage List. Nestled within the greenery of the Troodos Mountains (in the Pitsilia, Solia and Marathasa region) they were built and painted between the 11th and 16th centuries, made from ‘unfinished’ local stone. A real Byzantine treasure trove, the buildings have remained largely unchanged for centuries, standing proud as one of the greatest concentration of churches of the former Byzantine Empire. And once you step inside these quaint buildings, you’ll find yourselves ogling at colourful frescoes depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments, saints and sinners and, interestingly enough, portraits of the earthly patrons and ladies of the church. Floor to ceiling, wall to wall, the images can be overwhelming at first. To really appreciate the artistry on display,
The Greek Orthodox monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai is located at the very place where God appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush, beneath the Mount of the Decalogue. In the providence of God, it is at this site also that the holy relics of Saint Catherine are enshrined. This is the oldest continuously inhabited Christian monastery, with a history that can be traced back over seventeen centuries. The monastery predates the divisions of the Christian world, its origins extending to late antiquity.
The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem is considered the “Mother Church” of the Holy Land. The biggest single group of Holy Land Christians belongs to this Church and many Christians who belong today to other Churches have their origins in the Greek Orthodox Church. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem sees itself as a direct descendant of the chair of St James the Apostle, venerated as first bishop of Jerusalem. The Church celebrates its liturgy in the Byzantine rite, whose original language is Greek, and follows its own calendar of feasts, preserving the Julian calendar (that is thirteen days behind the Western (Gregorian) calendar.