For Christians, Easter represents the hopes of eternal life and the veracity of Jesus as the Savior. This year, Easter offers an amazing first-time look into the tomb of Jesus. The coveted shrine, called the Edicule, sits at the center of one of the world’s oldest churches—the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The tomb, which is believed to have held Jesus’ body after the crucifixion, was revealed to the world on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. After a 4 million dollar facelift, the Edicule—which is located in Jerusalem’s Old City—was opened up to the public for the first time.
It took nine months to fully restore the site, with the work carried out by a team led by Greek scientists and restoration experts. The focus was to fully rebuild the small top portion of the tomb known as the Edicule. Considered one of Christianity’s most sacred monuments, the tomb was at risk of collapsing and being lost forever. Bonnie Burnham, the project manager and member of the World Monuments Fund told the press, “If the intervention hadn’t happened now, there is a very great risk that there could have been a collapse. This is a complete transformation of the monument.”
In October, the giant marble slab covering the tomb was lifted for the first time in more than two centuries. The team focused mostly on rebuilding the foundation structure with titanium bolts, repairing mortar, and cleaning the chamber. Now restored, cleaned and open for the public, restoration supervisor Antonia Moropoulu, told the press that, “This monument today is free. It is emancipated from the iron grids.” This comment is in reference to the former “caging” that surrounded and protected the tomb with iron reinforcements for over half a century. As Easter Sunday quickly approaches, millions are expected to visit the monument and glimpse through the small window to see where the beloved Jesus was buried and for some, to solidify their faith once again.