The church in Jerusalem where Jesus was buried is known by many names; Church of the Resurrection, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Church of Anastasis.
Whatever the name, this is arguably the most important church in history. The church is built on the site of the crucifixion, Golgotha, and the tomb in which Jesus was buried and rose again. The Church is symbolically designed with elements of classic Orthodox churches, with small windows and large domes, and Catholic churches, with arches and buttresses bearing its weight.
Initially, it was built as a temple to the Greek Goddess Aphrodite in an attempt to stop the spread of Christianity, but was eventually turned into a church by Emperor Constantine the Great. Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, whose mother Queen Helena discovered the Cross on The church has stood through numerous instances of destruction and pillaging. In the 7th century, during the initial Islamic Conquest, the church was protected by Muslim rulers. As time went on, it grew prone to earthquakes and fires. In the 11th century, the Egyptian Shia Caliph al-Hakim ordered the complete destruction of the church during his campaign against Christianity in his Caliphate. The church was reduced to nearly nothing. Eventually, al-Hakim’s son, Caliph al-Zahir allowed Byzantine Christians to rebuild the church. When Crusaders from Europe arrived, they
renovated it even further. Today, its appearance is largely unchanged from its last repair in the 19th century, but recently the Israeli government has made plans to renovate.
Unfortunately, the church is split into different corridors designated for different denominations. For example, the Greek Orthodox section is the Golgotha Corridor. Roman Catholics have an altar at the site of the Cross. The Coptic Church has an altar near the tomb of Jesus Christ. Due to the tensions between Christian branches, incidents often occur. There was even a fistfight between the Orthodox and Catholic churches over a door accidentally left open! Since each faction takes care of its own area, no one can make repairs without consulting all the other churches first, leaving the building in poor shape.
Every year, on the day before Orthodox Easter, the miracle of the Holy Fire takes place. This is when blue light from the tomb of Jesus turns into fire and lights candles and lamps in the tomb. The earliest recorded instance was in the 12th century. Every year, thousands of people come to Jerusalem to view this miracle.