Restoration work at the Shrine will be completed by Easter 2017

Restoration work at the Shrine will be completed by Easter 2017© AP Photo/ Dusan Vranic

The restoration of the Edicule — the chapel over the Holy Sepulchre — must be fully completed by Easter 2017 (April 16) they will ensure the safety of the rocks of the Sepulchre, and erected on it the Edicule, said the press service of the Russian ecclesiastical mission (RDM) in Jerusalem.

In October of this year, scientists for the first time in 500 years has removed a marble slab with the burial place of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

«According to reports, the lifting of the slabs on stone bed was dictated by technical necessity to ensure the safety of the bed and the surrounding rocks of the Holy Sepulchre. Full restoration of the Shrine is scheduled to finish by Easter 2017», — reported in the RDM.

According to the studies conducted before the restoration work, the main problem Edicule was that this building, being too heavy, settled under their own weight, at the same time destroying the rock of the Holy Sepulchre, which consists of soft and brittle limestone and is the Foundation for the Shrine.

In the spiritual mission also noted that the construction of the Shrine suffered serious damage from earthquakes, very frequent in this region, and the devastating fire of the former in the Church of the Holy sepulchre in 1808. «We should not ignore the negative impact of increased concentration of moisture inside the Edicule and serious problems with the drainage system located at the base of this building», — stated in a press release.

According to the experts, at the beginning of 2016 to the problem of load-bearing structures Edicule demanded urgent solutions. «Otherwise, their negative impact on structures and its Holy sites – the rock of the Holy Sepulcher – would be irreversible,» the statement reads.

As explained in the RDM, «is to survey the Foundation of the Edicule — the rock of the Sepulchre — for cracks and voids, and then the correct injection of bonding solution, and it was necessary to temporarily remove the marble slab that covers the top of the bed of Christ, and the marble veneer of the walls inside the burial chamber of the Shrine».

«It is important to note that, after removing the marble slabs, the scientists have ascertained that underneath is a genuine burial box of Jesus Christ, carved inside the rock of the burial cave and represent a single whole with the rock. The distance from the surface of the upper plate, which is seen by pilgrims to this stone bed is about 35 centimeters,» — said in the mission.