The church of the holy sepulchre is interesting to the bible student for two reasons:
- It confirms the activity of Helena in the establishing early church authority: The church was one of the sites established by Helena the mother of Constantine as the location of the crucifixion of Christ. This early frenetic establishment of “holy sites” and their ownership by the roman church was legendary. Included in the list were the church of the nativity Bethlehem and sites in Samaria and elsewhere. The “holy relics” and ownership of every high hill marked the church with the religious authority that could not be disputed by other religious players. Constantine and his impact on the changes of the Roman world from a pagan Rome to a catholic or universal Rome is the earthquake of Rev 6:12 and further described in Rev 12.
- It demonstrates the presence of crusaders within the city. This church continued a tradition of holy sites to be visited by the crusaders, as witnessed in the engravings in the walls above photograph. This visible evidence of the conflict between crusader and muslim is demonstrated here at this site, whereas previous sites such as the church on the temple mount have long been destroyed. This conflict between the church and muslim is the subject matter of Rev 8,9.
The question of whether this was the site of the crucifixion is open to considerable debate. It should be noted that the western wall of the city was to the west of this current site, as was the highest hill further to the west as well. It is suggested that this church was built on the previous site of a temple of Aphrodite constructed by Hadrian. It appears that the roman emperor built this only because it was a public forum at a significant point in Jerusalem, found on the junction of two main roads within the city. Further discussion on the site of Golgotha can be read here: http://www.ritmeyer.com/?s=golgotha#