More on the Holy Sepulchre

For those whose appetites for the most important church of Christianity were not satisfied by the recent book by Cohen, the older overview by Jurgen Kruger might do the trick: Die Grabeskirche zu Jerusalem: Geschichte – Gestalt – Bedeutung (Regensburg: Schnell und Steiner, 2000). The beautiful photographs alone (for those not fluent in German) are worth a search for this book, whereas the text provides an exemplary overview of the history of this church. Many detailed groundplans are included – from the hypothetical ones trying to reconstruct how the church might have looked liked in earlier centuries to the more recent attempts to map exactly all the details of the both the material outlook of the church and the human occupancy of it – and help to understand the complicated situation in the church. Kruger pays much attention to the early stages of the church, the period of the Crusades, its copies elsewhere in the world and the ins and outs of pilgrimage. The 16th to early 19th century is not so well covered, and with that the history of the smaller communities in the church, starting with the Armenians, but also including the Copts, Ethiopians and Syrians (their chapel is only mentioned in passing), is treated much more superfically than that of the Latins and the Greeks – though Conrad Schick’s map (included on p. 163) neatly indicates all the locations of their chapels — for two photos of the Syrian presence – see above …

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