For the first time in centuries, the burial slab of Jesus Christ has been uncovered by scientists.
The tomb which is traditionally considered the tomb of Jesus Christ is located in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem and has been encased by marble since at least 1555 A.D., and most likely centuries earlier is believed to have held the body of Jesus after he was crucified.
Fredrik Hiebert, the archaeologist-in-residence at the National Geographic Society said “The marble covering of the tomb has been pulled back, and we were surprised by the amount of fill material beneath it.” “It will be a long scientific analysis, but we will finally be able to see the original rock surface on which, according to tradition, the body of Christ was laid.” According to Christian historians, the body of Jesus Christ was laid on a shelf or “burial bed” cut from the side of a limestone cave following his crucifixion by the Romans in A.D. 30 or possibly 33.
This burial bed is enclosed by a small structure known as the Edicule (from the Latin aedicule, or “little house”), which was last reconstructed in 1808-1810 after being destroyed in a fire. This monument located in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year and its ownership and maintenance is shared in a complex arrangement between the Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Catholic Churches. It is currently undergoing restoration work after being damaged by many years of exposure to humidity from the condensation from the breath of visitors, and thermal stress caused by candles burning for hours nearby.
The Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilus III, said the “atmosphere was special” while waiting outside the Edicule as the burial shelf was exposed.
“Here we have Franciscans, Armenians, Greeks, Muslim guards, and Jewish police officers,” he added. “We hope and we pray that this will be a real message that the impossible can become the possible. We all need peace and mutual respect.“