National Geographic: Scientists Uncover, Study Burial Place of Jesus
Renovations in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are allowing scientists an "unprecedented" opportunity to study Jesus' burial bed.
The limestone slab traditionally considered to be Jesus Christ’s burial bed has been uncovered for the first time since at least 1555 A.D., National Geographic reported Wednesday.
Housed in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also known as the Church of the Resurrection, in the Old City of Jerusalem, the tomb has been covered by marble cladding for centuries. Now it is finally undergoing renovation, giving scientists an “unprecedented” opportunity to study the burial bed.
National Geographic reports that the location was first identified as Jesus’ burial place in A.D. 326 by Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, the Roman emperor historians say favored Christianity.
“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,” said Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist-in-residence at the National Geographic Society and a partner in the restoration project.
“We are at the critical moment for rehabilitating the Edicule,” said Professor Antonio Moropoulou, who is directing the restoration project. “The techniques we’re using to document this unique monument will enable the world to study our findings as if they themselves were in the tomb of Christ.”
The decision to pursue the renovation was made earlier this year, after the three major groups in custody of the church building — the Greek Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Armenian Orthodox Church — invited the National Technical University of Athens to study the Edicule, which encloses the burial bed. Renovations are expected to be complete in the spring of 2017.
Read National Geographic’s full article for more information about the ongoing project.