Jerusalem tomb of Jesus restored

The tomb of Jesus has been resurrected to its former glory, the Daily Mail reports.

Just in time for Easter, a Greek restoration team has completed a historic renovation of the Edicule, the shrine that tradition says houses the cave where Jesus was buried and rose to heaven.

Restorers have now cut a small window from the shrine’s marble walls for pilgrims to see – for the first time – the bare stone of the ancient burial cave.

Gone is the unsightly iron cage built around the shrine by British authorities in 1947 to shore up the walls and the black soot on the shrine’s stone façade from decades of pilgrims lighting candles.

And gone are fears about the stability of the old shrine, which hadn’t been restored in more than 200 years.

‘If this intervention hadn’t happened now, there is a very great risk that there could have been a collapse,’ Bonnie Burnham of the World Monuments Fund said.

‘This is a complete transformation of the monument.’

The fund provided an initial $1.4 million for the $4 million restoration, thanks to a donation by the widow of the founder of Atlantic Records.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also chipped in about 150,000 euros each, along with other private and church donations, Burnham said.

The limestone and marble structure stands at the center of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, one of the world’s oldest churches – a 12th-century building standing on 4th-century remains.

The shrine needed urgent attention after years of exposure to environmental factors like water, humidity and candle smoke.

Three main Christian denominations – Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Churches – jealously guard separate sections of the church, but they put aside their longstanding religious rivalries to give their blessing for the restoration.

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