The Story of the Amazing Lintels of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem from the Crusader Period


Video from Zahi Shaked. Israeli tour guide צחי שקד. מורה דרך


"The church of the Holy Sepulchre as we see it today was restored and expanded by the Crusaders in 1099 after the Byzantine basilica was destructed by the Persians in the seventh century. As part of the expansion, a new entrance to the church, made of two doors, was built on the southern end. During the re-inauguration of the church as part of the Jubilee celebrations in 1149, the new double doors were crowned with two lintels In the 1930s, in the wake of a fire, the two lintels were removed to the Rockefeller Museum and have remain there to the present day in order to protect them. As of today, these two lintels are about 865 years old. When we look today at the entrance of the church we see only the hooks that used to hold the lintels. One lintel above each door. The western lintel depicting events from the life of Jesus surmounted the left door leading to the Holy Sepulchre. The scenes, from left to right, depict the raising of Lazarus; the imploring of Christ by Mary and Martha; Christ giving instruction for the Last Supper; the entry into Jerusalem; and the Last Supper. However, since this sequence does not follow the sequence of events in the New Testament, it has been proposed that the panel actually should be read from the center outward. The large central panel, which is partly damaged, depicts the Expulsing of the Merchants and the Cleaning of the Temple, apparently alluding to the liberation of the Holy Sepulchre by the Crusaders. To the right of this panel is the entry into Jerusalem, pointing to the triumphal entry of the Crusaders into the city. This is followed on the far right by the Last Supper, which attests to Jesus’ human nature. The left side of the lintel is devoted to Jesus’ divine nature. As such, the panel to the left of the central panel, previously identified as the imploring of Christ by Mary and Martha, depicts the apparition of Christ after the resurrection, while the Raising of Lazarus, on the far left, prefigures the Resurrection of the dead. The eastern lintel surmounted the door leading to Golgotha and the Chapel of Adam. Its decoration, which develops from the center outwards, features mythological creatures and naked human figures inside scrolls of foliage. Foliate scrolls without figures usually represent the divine nature. Here, however, the scrolls contain human figures as well as sirens, centaurs, birds of prey and hybrid creatures with the head of a goat, the body of a bird and the tail of a dragon – all of these are symbols of sin and seduction. Thus the lintel represents the forces of devil, the devil and infidels, and serves as counterpart to the western lintel with its message of triumph and salvation. Zahi Shaked A tour guide in Israel and his camera zahigo25@walla.com +972-54-6905522 tel סיור עם מורה הדרך ומדריך הטיולים צחי שקד 0546905522 My name is Zahi Shaked In 2000 I became a registered licensed tourist guide. My dedication in life is to pass on the ancient history of the Holy Land. Following upon many years of travel around the world, which was highlighted by a very exciting emotional and soul-searching meeting with the Dalai Lama, I realized that I had a mission. To pass on the history of the Holy Land, its religions, and in particular, the birth and development of Christianity. In order to fulfill this "calling" in the best way possible, I studied in depth, visited, and personally experienced each and every important site of the ancient Christians. I studied for and received my first bachelors degree in the ancient history of the Holy Land, and am presently completing my studies for my second degree.(Masters) Parralel to my studies, and in order to earn a living, I was employed for many years in advertising. What I learned there was how to attract the publics attention, generate and, increase interest, and assimilate information. All this I use as tools to describe, explain and deepen the interest in the sites that we visit. From my experience, I have learned that in this way, the Holy Land becomes more than just history, and that the large stones that we see scattered about in dissaray, join together one by one until they become - a Byzantine Church." from video introduction.