Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fake Graves

The Church of the Holy Sephulcher is (arguably) the most famous grave in the world. It is also (arguably) a hoax.

Built in the middle 300s, on the site of a Temple to Venus, by men working for Emperor Constantine, the Church is said to cover the grave of Jesus, but this identification is specious. Soon after the great council at Nicaea, the emperor's newly converted mother, Helena, embarked on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. During her trip she had the marvelous good fortune to discover both the true cross, and the nails of the crucifixion. According to the ArtScroll style legends, Helena was aided in her discovery by a Jew - and here's a coincidence for you - named Judas. After his coreligionists found out about his betrayal he was forced to convert, the location of the true cross, of course, being one of those essential Jewish secrets.

Anyway, Sephulcher was built on the spot of her discovery.

My point? Only that fake graves are old news, so this bit of religious dishonesty doesn't surprise me in the least.

Side bet: I have $5 million that says each of us who are currently Orthodox will have at least one great grandchild who, in say 2090, will be willing to fight a "skeptic" who denies the authenticity of this grave. Sad, no?

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