25/11/2005

Site of Crucifixion, Stabat Mater & Nailing to the Cross

 

Here is Calvary, or Golgotha. Calvary is the word that translates Golgotha, meaning place of the skull, in the Latin Vulgate. It was first enclosed within the church under the Crusaders, 1099-1149. Entering and going up by the stairs nearest the door, on the right is the Latin, Roman Catholic, chapel, marking the tenth and eleventh stations of the Cross which we can see in the wall mosaics dating from 1937 (Jesus stripped of his garments for the sacrifice, and Jesus nailed to the cross).

Above, on the ceiling, is a mosaic of the Ascension surviving from the Crusader period. To the left is the Greek Orthodox Chapel of the Crucifixion, Calvary itself, which marks the twelfth Station (Jesus dies on the Cross). Between them is the thirteenth Station (Jesus is taken down from the Cross) with the Roman Catholic altar of the Pierced Heart of Mary, or Our Lady of Sorrows, recalling the 'Stabat Mater', with a statue from Portugal dating from 1778. The Chapel of the Crucifixion, presently held by the Greeks, was held by the Armenians at least from the time of Saladin in 1187 until 1422, and then by the Georgians until the early seventeenth century, when they gave it up to the Greeks because of Ottoman church taxes and declining numbers. Four times a year including Good Friday in the Western church calendar, the Roman Catholics are allowed to hold a Latin service at this Greek Orthodox altar (so long as they do not remove the Orthodox altar-cloth ! ). Beneath this altar, there is a silver disk with a hole through which one may touch the bedrock of Golgotha or Calvary. On the right under the glass, one may see the fissure in the rock said to have been caused by the earthquake at the time of the Lord's death (Matthew 27:51). 

 

 

 

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