Holy Sepulchre

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Holy Sepulchre. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, or Anastasis (Resurrection), Jerusalem, was Emperor Constantine's most important church foundation (C4). It was essentially a domed rotunda with an inner ring of columns and piers carrying the dome and an annular ambulatory contained by a wall from which three apses projected, so was not unlike Imperial mausolea such as ‘Santa Costanza’, Rome. It contained a tiny temple-like structure encasing the tomb itself. Both church and shrine were destroyed in 1009, but rebuilt (C11) in a Byzantino-Romanesque style, the plan remaining similar. The basic form was the precedent for many cemetery-chapels, martyria, and churches (notably the round churches at Cambridge, the Temple (London), and Northampton), while the shrine inspired numerous progeny, including Alberti's Rucellai Chapel, San Pancrazio, Florence (1460–7).

Bibliography

N. Brooks (1921)

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Holy Sepulchre Tomb in the old city of Jerusalem traditionally held to be the site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was believed to have been discovered by Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine I, who built the first ‘Church of the Holy Sepulchre’ there in c.336. Several churches have been built, destroyed, and rebuilt on the site over the centuries. Most of the present church dates from 1810.