church of the holy sepulchre. / by Levi Buchanan

Ever build something up in your head for half of your life... and then have it exceed all expectations? That. 

Early this morning, followed the stations of Via Dolorosa and slipped into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre before it was overwhelmed by crowds. I'm not necessarily religious -- rather, I embrace the uncertainty of faith is something greater than ourselves. But it was difficult not to sense something both infinite and historical at this site, where Jesus was raised on the cross over Golgotha and then nearby laid to rest.

Jerusalem continues to be everything I hoped. Truly a crossroads in history.

The Aedicule, containing the Angel Stone and the tomb of Jesus.

The Stone of Unction.

The Stone of Unction.

The Altar of the Crucifixion over Golgotha. There's a hole in the altar where you can reach down to touch the rock.

The rock of Calvary, viewed through a window in the Chapel of Adam. Allegedly cracked by an earthquake when Jesus was crucified.

The Christ Pantocrator ceiling above the Catholicon in the center of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. 

The rotunda above the Aedicule.

The Angel Stone, believed to be a fragment of the rock that covered the covered the tomb of Jesus.

Within the tomb, inside the Aedicule.

Crusader graffiti in the stairs leading down to the Chapel of Saint Helena.

Unearthed tombs behind the Aedicule.

Entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The immovable ladder rests against the upper-right window.