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Author Topic: Holy Sepulcher use when Pascha & Western Easter Celebrations Coincide  (Read 971 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 30, 2010, 04:27:16 AM »

What does the agreement for use of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Church of the Holy Resurrection, call for in terms of use by each of the denominations who have rights to its use during Great Week?  What changes occur that are different from what is called for when Easter/Pascha do not occur on the same date?
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2010, 06:45:12 AM »

The use of the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre) is still strictly regulated by a firman issued in 1852 which has resulted in what's commonly referred to as the "status quo". Under the status quo, the church building and the times for its use are divided between the Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, and Roman Catholic custodians, with the lion's share going to the Eastern Orthodox. Under the status quo for instance, only the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem or a Bishop representing him can celebrate the Ceremony of the Holy Light. Tensions are usually high because of the status quo, and any action by any group, no matter how innocent it may have been, is often interpreted as a grab for more power over the use of the building. For instance, in 2004 during the Julian Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the Roman Catholics (most likely inadvertently) left the door of the Franciscan Chapel open which was viewed as a sign of disrespect by the Orthodox, and a brawl broke out. The most ridiculous sign of the extent to which the status quo is taken seriously is the "Immovable Ladder". Above the door of the main entrance into the Church of the Resurrection is a wooden ladder sitting on a ledge. It was placed there shortly before the firman establishing the status quo was decreed in 1852 in order to clean the windows. After the status quo was established, none of the Churches dared to move the ladder because the entrance doors, windows and exterior ledges of the Church of the Resurrection were decreed to be common property of all three Churches under the status quo. So the ladder has stood there for a hundred and fifty years and came to be known as "The Immovable Ladder".

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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2010, 08:19:08 AM »

I have seen the Status Quo document on line.  Right now though a web search will not turn it up.
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2010, 01:52:40 AM »

The use of the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre) is still strictly regulated by a firman issued in 1852 which has resulted in what's commonly referred to as the "status quo". Under the status quo, the church building and the times for its use are divided between the Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, and Roman Catholic custodians, with the lion's share going to the Eastern Orthodox. Under the status quo for instance, only the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem or a Bishop representing him can celebrate the Ceremony of the Holy Light. Tensions are usually high because of the status quo, and any action by any group, no matter how innocent it may have been, is often interpreted as a grab for more power over the use of the building. For instance, in 2004 during the Julian Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the Roman Catholics (most likely inadvertently) left the door of the Franciscan Chapel open which was viewed as a sign of disrespect by the Orthodox, and a brawl broke out. The most ridiculous sign of the extent to which the status quo is taken seriously is the "Immovable Ladder". Above the door of the main entrance into the Church of the Resurrection is a wooden ladder sitting on a ledge. It was placed there shortly before the firman establishing the status quo was decreed in 1852 in order to clean the windows. After the status quo was established, none of the Churches dared to move the ladder because the entrance doors, windows and exterior ledges of the Church of the Resurrection were decreed to be common property of all three Churches under the status quo. So the ladder has stood there for a hundred and fifty years and came to be known as "The Immovable Ladder".



I think I have seen a video of that "brawl." I find it pretty embarrassing to watch Orthodox Christians engaged in fisticuffs with people of other faiths in a church. I'm pretty sure Christ would disapprove. I was taught one shouldn't even kill a spider or a fly in church., much less sock some Armenian dude in the face. On the other hand, it does seem important to have access to the holy sites. Oh well.

I like the story about the ladder. It is also kind of ridiculous, but in a nice way. I'm glad stuff like the Immovable Ladder exists in this world. What a funny story.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 01:57:21 AM by JLatimer » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2010, 02:10:39 AM »

What does the agreement for use of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Church of the Holy Resurrection, call for in terms of use by each of the denominations who have rights to its use during Great Week?

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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2010, 04:01:26 AM »

I find it pretty embarrassing to watch Orthodox Christians engaged in fisticuffs with people of other faiths in a church. I'm pretty sure Christ would disapprove. I was taught one shouldn't even kill a spider or a fly in church., much less sock some Armenian dude in the face. On the other hand, it does seem important to have access to the holy sites.
Does Christian charity apply at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2010, 10:46:15 AM »

I find it pretty embarrassing to watch Orthodox Christians engaged in fisticuffs with people of other faiths in a church. I'm pretty sure Christ would disapprove. I was taught one shouldn't even kill a spider or a fly in church., much less sock some Armenian dude in the face. On the other hand, it does seem important to have access to the holy sites.
Does Christian charity apply at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?

Sadly, frequently not.

I did have to laugh at an article about the Holy Fire ceremony this year.  In an AP report they stated that the source of the flame is a "closely guarded secret."  Yeah - so closely guarded that we exclaim it to one another for 40 days after the fact: Christ is Risen!
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