We knew we were getting close to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, below,because all the nearby shops sold candles and religious items.
One of the most remarkable things about the gorgeous church is that it is shared, albeit unequally and uncomfortably, by six Christian denominations. Unfortunately even though there are Status Quo treaties dating from 1852 for the administration of the church, there are huge disagreements among the groups that have literally resulted in priests coming to blows with each other - how very sad. Since 1187, the same 2 Muslim families have had the honor of opening and closing the church as no one else could agree when it should be done. In 1935, wooden reinforcements had to be used to keep the church standing because no agreement could be reached regarding reconstruction.
Fair warning: you just might see a lot more photos of lamps/lights like these as I found them fascinating.
After leaving the church, we followed many of the Stations of the Cross on Via Dolorosa or Way of the Cross, which ironically enough, runs through the
|All the alleys in the Old City are just like this.|
|Security cameras are everywhere.|
As you might expect, security is very tight in the whole Wall area with young gun toting soldiers visible throughout. It becomes ‘normal’ very quickly even for a new visitor to the country to accept the status quo and not become bothered by the constant police presence wherever you are in the city. I have no concept of what it must be like to live, as opposed to visit a country, where the threat of violence is fairly constant and what that must do to a person’s psyche. While we’ve been here for almost a week, we’ve received emails from the US State Dept. warning of threats in certain areas of
|This is where we had been standing hours earlier with our walking tour and had taken pictures of the Wall.|
|More than time to dye that gray hair!|
Notes in the Wall: I’m sure you’ve all heard or read that the cracks between the Wall’s massive stones are stuffed with slips of paper bearing prayers and petitions. It has been said with a mixture of serious faith and light cynicism that they reach their destination more quickly than the Israeli postal service! The cracks are cleaned several times a year but the slips are never simply dumped. Since they often contain God’s name and are written from the heart, the slips are collected in a sack and are buried with reverence in a Jewish cemetery.
|In the women's section. After praying at the Wall, women (and men?) walk backwards about 20 or so feet as a sign of reverence.|
|In the Old City.|