Jerusalem Church to Remain Closed

Published 07 March 2018  |  
(AP Photo)
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Holy Land, Theophilos III, center, stands outside the closed doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed by many Christians to be the site of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ, in Jerusalem, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. The leaders of the major Christian sects in Jerusalem closed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, for several hours on Sunday to protest an Israeli plan to tax their properties.

The Jerusalem Church of the Holy Sepulchre remained closed for a second day on Feb. 27 to protest Israeli attempt to tax church properties in the holy city, leaving disappointed pilgrims locked outside.

Christian leaders took the rare step of shutting one of Jerusalem's most esteemed and famous holy sites, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Feb. 26 at noon in a bid to pressure Israeli authorities into abandoning the measures.

The church, which is built where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected, would be closed until further notice.

"We closed the church for specific reasons and for an unlimited period of time," one church official said on condition of anonymity, according to India.com.

"It is a move supported by all the churches," he added.

Disappointed pilgrims gathered in front of the church's large wooden doors hoping they would have the chance to visit the site.

"We were told it's political. It is disheartening — it is such a holy place," said Aleana Doughty, a 35-year-old dental hygienist visiting with a group from the United States.

Another pilgrim, Rebecca Santos from the Philippines, said she was "very sad" to see the church closed.

"It is my second time to the Holy Land, and my expectation was to see Jesus Christ, the Sepulchre," she said, according to TOI.

"That's why I came here. ... I hope they will open it again for all of us," she added.

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