The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
My 4th Sunday in this country, and quite ready to rest again. No Service in Camp to-day, as Episcopal Ch. in Jerusalem is close to. After breakfast went out with Weaver into town - will try to describe town before leaving. Went on to Church of Holy Sepulchre. Saw it again on Monday with Guide - will finish with it here. The entrance is by a back or side street, and not much to be seen externally. On entering, Turkish soldiers are seen lounging on one side - to keep the peace - the Holy Places being open to all the Sects and Religions. The 1st object is just opposite on entering - the Stone of Unction, over which are suspended lighted lamps. Then one turns to left, and enters under a dome, much decorated and painted with pictures of the Agony around. Under centre is a massive stone monument called the tomb in which Christ was laid. Entering from E. end you enter a small room, rich in marble and coming abt. 10 ft by 5 ft, where the Angel stood. Proceeding on out of it through a low door, you enter the Tomb -about 7 ft x 5. A raised slab of marble over the rock is on one side where Christ was laid, and suspended over the room about a dozen rows of silver lamps kept burning by the various denominations and filled with perfumed oil. The pilgrims come in and reverently kiss the floor and then stand and appear to pray most fervently. A monk, standing alone occasionally sprinkles scented water on the stone, and on the hands of pilgrims if they wish. I had some on my hand and found it sweet at first and nasty afterwards. Went and saw Chapel of Greeks, largest, and Latins' altar. Lamps and shrines are all around, and, to those who take it in may spot Holy ground. In a number of places are marked off or distinguished by canopies, rails, or stones, as where Virgin stood where Christ was embalmed, where Mary M met Jesus, where He was put into the stocks where He was scourged, the pillar to which he was bound - carefully built in, surrounded by appendages of the altar - a hole being left where, with a stick, you can touch it and then kiss the stick - stick duly provided. We then went down a number of steps to Chapel of St Helena, and then, down another flight, to Chapel where the Cross was found after much excavation. On ascending again we are shown a spot where Cross touched a dead body and restored life, thus proving it to be the real Cross. Thereafter, getting to ground level, rise up a number of steps, and we are shown, under the most gorgeous of all the altars, the place where the Cross was placed in the rock - guarded by marble, with a small hole to peer through. Also saw, through a space left for the purpose, a cleft in the rock, made by the earthquake. Many pictures, richly ornamented with jewels and gold sheets. Nearly all the places are dark and gloomy, and to see pictures we walked about, candle in hand, in true pilgrim style.
Many of the sights are impressive, and, with their surroundings, might affect powerfully those who have full faith in the sites. The building is certainly on a hill; but it is far within the present walls, and that is the difficulty about it.
At 10, went to the English service. A Jewish proselyte preached a simple Sermon; a coloured man named Johnson, native of Sierra Leone read the Prayers (Dr Deass, American Consul, told a good story about him), and the old Bishop did a little too. The Church is a Mission to the Jews, and am told that, in many years, not one convert has been made.
In afternoon, took it easy in my tent. Latter part of time A. Consul came in to see Col. Weaver, and we talked on until dinner. At ½ 7 Dr Lindsay preached in Mission Lecture Room on Providence. A good attendance.