A site which is believed by some religious traditions to have contained the body of Jesus after his crucifixion has been repaired and restored after decades of disrepair, a restoration project team announced on Monday.
The shrine which encases the tomb is known as the Edicule, and is located at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
The Edicule was restored four times since its establishment, according to a Guardian report. It was almost completely wiped out when a fire broke out in 1808, and was restored in 1810. However, the shrine had not been renovated since.
“I would venture to say that if this intervention hadn’t happened now, there was a very great risk that there could have been a collapse,” Bonnie Burnham of the World Monuments Fund, was quoted as saying by NPR. The World Monuments Fund was one of the contributors to the restoration project which cost some $4 million.
A team of some 50 from the National Technical University of Athens conducted the restoration project, supervised by Antonia Moropoulou.
One of the noted portions of the restoration is that the iron girders that once surrounded the Edicule to stabilize it has been removed, and the restoration team instead strengthened the shrine with mortar and bolts of titanium, according to reports.
The team also opened up a small window in the Edicule that allows onlookers to see the rock shelf on which some believe Jesus’ body after the crucifixion had been laid, and then from which Jesus resurrected.
Meanwhile, the jurisdiction over the church had been split between six parties since 1752, including the Armenian Orthodox, Coptic Christian, Ethiopian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Syrian Orthodox religious groups. Over decades, these groups have often been involved in conflict over the church.