On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, the heads of the Christian communities in Jerusalem presided a ceremony to mark the completion of the conservation, restoration and rehabilitation of the Aedicule of the Holy Sepulcher.


Hundreds of people gathered in the Church of the Resurrection to attend an impressive ceremony that brought together the Christians of Jerusalem. The ceremony began with hymns sung by three choirs, the Greek Orthodox, the Franciscans and the Armenians. This was followed by a series of discourses by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, Franciscan Custos Francesco Patton and Armenian Patriarch Nourhan Manougian. This was followed by discourses by the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate (and former Custos) Pierbattista Pizzaballa and Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos (who arrived from Istanbul). There were also messages read from Roman Catholic Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches Leonardo Sandri and from the Catholicos of all Armenians Karekin II.

The speakers all underlined the importance of this place for all Christians and thanked those who had supervised the restoration. They also thanked the donors who had made this millions of dollar project possible. They all expressed gratitude that this project had involved the collaboration of the three main guardians of the Holy Places, the Greek Orthodox, the Franciscans and the Armenians. It was Archbishop Pizzaballa who pointed out: “The Holy Sepulcher is like a mirror of who we are. It shows up the wounds of our divisions. Yet, today it also shows the hope that these wounds can be healed”.

The Armenian Patriarch made a striking plea in his discourse. Pointing out that the Anglican and Lutheran bishops were present at the ceremony, he asked the Church authorities to consider making place for them in the Church of the Resurrection.

The ceremony ended at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate with an explanation by the Greek professor who headed the team that worked on the Aedicule and by the Prime Minister of Greece, who was present for the ceremony.

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