Gazing Heavenward in the Holy Sepulchre

Everywhere you look there are wonderful representations of the faith in the Holy Sepulchre. Here is some of what you see, gazing heavenward…

In the Greek church, you can look up and see mosaics including the Archangel Michael.

In this picture you can just glimpse the top of the dome, showing Jesus, Pantocrator.

Jesus, Pantocrator, at the top of the dome.

Saint Matthew, in a pendentive:

Saint John, in a pendentive:

The dome over the Edicule.

Under the dome, the Edicule, built over the tomb of Jesus.

The Ethiopian monks at the Sepulchre. There are little monastic settlements on the roof and they live up there.

To read more about the Holy Sepulchre:

Priest Rescues Priceless Manuscripts in Iraq

“Many of the documents in Michaeel’s collection are written in ancient languages including Aramaic, Latin and Ottoman Turkish. They date back centuries, if not more. The oldest is at least 1,100 years old,” said Father Najeeb Michaeel. “Michaeel’s collection isn’t limited to Christian texts. There are works on ancient astrology, geography and history, as well as manuscripts belonging to other religions including Yazidis and Muslims.” Read the rest on the OP/[Dominicans]’s website, and see this video of Father Michaeel looking at and reading from some of the priceless manuscripts.

The Walls of Constantinople

There is an excellent video on the walls of Constantinople, explaining how and why the walls were built. It includes reconstructions of what the walls would have looked like and how they were a defense of the city. This Walking the Walls post now has the video posted. Take a look at the post to see what the walls look like today, then to the bottom of the post to see the video.

Mount Temptation

In the fourth century, the Monk Chariton, from Iconium in Turkey, established this monastery. The Monastery of the Temptation is built into a cliff overlooking the city of Jericho rising 350 meters above sea level. The earliest monastic establishment here was built in the 6th century over the cave traditionally thought to be where Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights. Saint Helena in 326 identified this as a holy site, in her pilgrimage.

Monastery of the Temptation.

Church of the Temptation.

It was a laura, that is a community that has both solitary and community lifestyles.

This cave deep into the monastery is a place of prayers and pilgrimage.

The icon screen in the monastery church.

The Virgin Mary and John the Baptist offering prayers of intercession to Christ.

Fresco of the Crucifixion.

Gazing heavenward towards Christ, the Pantocrator, the Almighty.

Another view gazing heavenward.

The Virgin Mary presenting the Christ Child to the world. After the Baptism in the Jordan River, the Spirit drove him into the desert. According to ancient Christian tradition, this monastery commemorates the Mount of Temptation.

Notice how the chapels are carved into the pre-existing caves of the mountain.


Looking down from the Mount of Temptation to Jericho and beyond to the River Jordan.

The Mount of Temptation in depth – Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land

A Roman Jewel Rediscovered

In the city of Rome there are so many artistic jewels that reveal the loving presence of the Lord. The Basilica of Santa Maria Antiqua, long buried by an earthquake, has a fresco said to be “the oldest image of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus, according to the architect Francesco Prosperetti, superintendent of archaeological artifacts in Rome. This is indeed Rome’s oldest icon.” See the rest at Aleteia:

Mosaics of Saint Gerasimus Monastery

This mosaic is at the foot of the icon of the Virgin Mary who holds her Son who is the source of the living water. The connection is stunning.

Next to the image of the deer slaking their thirst for living water is this floor mosaic.

Notice the anchor (hope); the pomegranate in the lower right hand corner is a symbol of the resurrection and hope of eternal life. The many seeds represent the many believers who have been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb and united in one Catholic Church. The seeds from the pomegranate are also likened to Christ bursting forth from the tomb.

Grapes and baby animals all symbolize the renewal of creation through the Resurrection of Jesus.

Simple fresco.

Another early Christian tradition associates this cave with the Holy Family during their refuge from flight from Herod the Great.

Floor mosaic camel.