Welcome to Jerusalempedia
the free Jerusalem encyclopedia
The Christian holy city: Jerusalem
Jerusalem has been the foundation of the Christian Church, and it is in this belief that Palestinian monasticism created its own niche in Christian Jerusalem's history.
Christian Jerusalem is at once a fact of history and a work of the imagination. The actual city, the place where King David ruled and Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, is irrevocably part of Christian memory. For Christians Jerusalem is also the city of Psalm 87.
The Christian Church had its beginnings in the city of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem the first Christian martyr, Stephen, met his death, and in the fourth century a great church was built in Jerusalem to house his relics and honor his memory. In a sermon preached in Jerusalem in the fifth century to venerate Stephen, Hesychius, a presbyter in Jerusalem, declaimed: "Among us Stephen fixed his courtyards and his tents, among us he received the lot of his ministry and the part of his martyrdom." Only Christians whose home was Jerusalem could say that these things have been accomplished "among us." * 1
Jerusalem is unique. Holy to three great faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the Old City is also perhaps one of the most fought over square kilometres on earth.
At the time of the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 there were 29,000 Christians living in Jerusalem - now that figure is less than 10,000.
In a few decades time there could be no local Christians in the birthplace of their religion.
Christians fear that no matter who wins they'll end up as a tiny second-class minority
Christian Architecture through the Ages
Christian architecture in Jerusalem is a study of continuity and survival despite the ravages of time, war, schism, earthquake and fire. Many of the churches, monasteries, convents and shrines mark sites associated with the earliest years of Christianity and the life and ministry of Jesus and his disciples. Almost all early Christian architects borrowed heavily from the Romans, whatever the regional culture of the individual community. The principal feature of Roman architecture was the arch and the vault in domed roof construction. The Byzantines further developed this in the construction of great domed buildings, such as Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. A visit to the present Church of the Holy Sepulcher reveals little of the original Byzantine structure.
* 1 - Michael Aubineau, Les Homilies Festale d'Hesychius de Jerusalem, in Subsidia Hagiographia no. 459 (Brussels, 1978), 1:244. On Christian Jerusalem, see Robert L. Wilken, The Land Called Holy: Palestine in Christian History and Thought (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992).
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Photo: Y. Loeff
Recommend Our Site To Your Friends !