I arrived in the Holy City of Jerusalem with my faith already weakened. Years of disappointment and heartbreaks have admittedly affected my belief and relationship with God, making me question whether there is really a supreme being who guides and controls our fate.
With my faith already nearly non-existent, I have been used to relying solely on myself, asserting that I control my destiny and I can accomplish anything if I just put effort into it.
But when my mom suffered a stroke earlier in the year, I realized that I cannot control everything. It really pains me to see my mom try to standup and act normally even with her weakened physique. It made me cry when she failed to remember moments in her life, and when she’s having difficulties with her eyesight, a result of some damage in her occipital lobe.
With my trusted map, I made my way to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, the most important religious site for most Christians since the 4th century.
|Entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre|
Here in this complex lies Golgotha, believed to be the site of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and burial. The emperor Constantine ordered for the construction of the church in 326 AD from what was a pagan site dedicated to Venus. The tomb of Jesus Christ was supposedly found here during the construction. Constantine’s mother St. Helena, also found fragments of the True Cross here.
The original church was burned by the Persians in 614 AD and much of what was left was destroyed even further by the Muslims in 1009. The Crusaders implemented a reconstruction of the church complex and it was completed in 1149. Much of what can be seen from the church’s facade is from the crusader’s period.
From outside, architecture influences from the Byzantine, Crusader and Ottoman period remain apparent. As of now, the church remains a major holy site for the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Catholics.
Joining a sea of pilgrims from all over the world, I made my way inside the church.
From the main door, the first thing you will see is the tablet where Jesus died. Pilgrims wipe hankies, clothes, rosaries and bottles of holy water against the tablet hoping that these items will be imbued with Christ’s holiness.
At first, I didn’t want to follow these pilgrims but as I stand in the background, I started to talk directly to God. I thanked Him for all the blessings He has given me. I poured out what my heart really felt at that time. And after a few minutes of honest conversation with Him, I realize that despite years of not talking to Him, I can still feel His guidance, and He has remained a good friend to me.
Without hesitation now, I knelt in front of the tablet and immediately felt the importance of the moment and I prayed. I prayed for the immediate recovery of my mom. I prayed that she stay by our side for a long time.
I rubbed the rosaries I bought previously, against the tablet hoping that friends and relatives who will get it will be blessed as well.
After praying, I toured inside the basilica and could not help but admire the grandiosity of the church’s architecture.
I specially like the rotunda directly above the Aedicule, where Jesus’ tomb is housed.
The Aedicule has two parts, the Angel’s stone where a fragment of the stone that covered the tomb is located. The other side if the actual tomb.
I spent about 30 minutes inside the church and within that time, I can say that I was able to repair my relationship with Him. I may not have been the ideal follower all these years, but it is never too late to renew your faith and believe in Him.
After all, He forgives us for our sins.
|The tablet where Jesus was laid|
|Me Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre|
|Facade of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre|