CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER TOUR FROM TEL AVIV HOTELS WITH A DRIVER
Welcome to Israel! after a long period of closed doors during the covid 19 pandemic the doors of the world's famous church are finally open, book your driver in Israel from the tel Aviv hotels and visit the church of the holy sepulcher.
How did it happen that two Muslim families hold the key to the world's most important church? Why do Christians not forfeit this right, what is the consideration for holding the key, and how is the opening ceremony of the church conducted? On the daily opening ceremony of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the story behind it...our driver will help you to answer these questions or a professional tour guide which we will provide you during your visit to Jerusalem.
The most important church in the world is located in the center of the Christian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. This is the place where according to tradition Jesus of Nazareth was crucified on the eve of Passover by the Roman soldiers after the trial held for him in the morning hours by Pontius Pilate, the Roman commissioner of Judea. On the cross, he took out his soul, was buried, and resurrected less than two days after his death. Many sites in the Christian world get their sanctity meaning from their connection to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and church sites such as the Golgotha (Crucifixion Hill) and even the road from the place of the trial have been replicated in many churches and throughout the Christian world. The culmination of a pilgrimage is by touching and praying at the sites within this church.
From this, it is possible to understand why it is so important for different denominations to maintain their status and their relative share within this holy church. But not only rights to rooms and chapels within the church are piously preserved based on the status quo established in 1852 by the Ottomans but even the church key and the right to open and close the church are considered property, which the occupier will not give up even if.
The key and the right to open and close the church doors are held by two Muslim families: Judah and Nusseibeh. The background is undoubtedly a directive of the Muslim government, which allowed the continued worship of the Christians in their church but controlled the entrance through the Muslim families.
WHO GAVE THE KEYS OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER?
Since when do Muslim families hold the keys to the church? The answer is not clear. There are Muslim traditions that claim that the handing over of the keys took place in the days of the second caliph, Omar ibn al-Khattab. According to tradition, Omar was the one who personally received the surrender of Jerusalem from the Byzantines in 638 AD, and that the patriarch Sopronius gave him the keys to resolve internal conflicts of the Christians, and he in turn handed over the keys to the Nusseibeh family. Researchers question the reliability of this information. The more reasonable estimate attributes the handing over of the keys to the Muslim families to the Ayyubid period, after the conquest of Jerusalem by the Crusaders in 1099 by Saladin.
The earliest evidence in the sources about these keys tells of the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid (809-786), who made diplomatic and economic ties with Charlemagne the ruler of the vast Roman kingdom that ruled all of Western Europe. The purpose of these ties was the common interest of the two sides in their hostility towards the Byzantine kingdom that threatened them. As part of this relationship and as a tribute to Charlemagne, the Ark of the Covenant sent him the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Although centuries have passed and the regime has changed, the rights of Muslim families have not changed. Even in the British period, between the years 1948-1917, these rights were not denied to the Muslims. Why do both families continue to bear this burden? After all, these are not economic rights, since as early as 1831, Ibrahim Faha abolished the payment of entrance fees. The families then received a respectable salary from the congregation in the church, but after 1967 they received only a token amount.
respect? There is a lot. After all, the eyes of the entire Christian world are on this site, but why should Muslims insist on the respect that the Christian world gives to the holy place? And maybe a mission? A mission on behalf of the entire Islamic world to continue to display Muslim domination, religious supremacy of Islam over Christianity? And if so, why is the Christian world not trying to get the keys? Status quo? Or do they not see the opening of the church as an act of honor, and the activity of the Muslim families is interpreted by them as an act of service and not as a control? We will try to disassemble the puzzle on this trip with a driver to Jerusalem from the hotels of Tel Aviv!
KEYCHAINS AND GATE OPENERS OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER IN JERUSALEM
The main family responsible for the key is the Judah family. In the past, this family was called: Al-'Audiya and they are the ones who actually, physically, hold the key (doorkeeper) while the Nusseibeh family are the ones who are responsible for the activity of opening the gate (open door).
This is how the process is carried out: at the opening, three representatives of the various denominations stand in the church behind the locked gate - the Greek Orthodox community, the Franciscan-Catholic community, and the Armenian community. The authority to open the window internally is reserved solely for the representative of the Greek Catholic Patriarchate, but each has a set time in which he, in turn, gets to take the ladder out the window in the door for the Muslim families waiting outside the door. The ladder is picked up by representatives of Muslim families and placed on the door. A representative of the Judah family gives the key to a representative of the Nusseibeh family, who ascends the ladder and opens the doors of the church. Afterward, a representative of the Nusseibeh family is the one pushing the doors - making the church open to visitors and worshipers.
So who is more important: Nusseibeh of Judah? Depends on who you ask. Each family tends to present itself as responsible for opening the gate, and the visitor, who has no prior knowledge, gets the explanation from the guides and instruction numbers that attribute the rights to the Nusseibeh family only, perhaps because the family representative sits on the entrance bench for hours and is familiar to many guides. The Juda family claims that members of the Nusseibeh family were asked to help their wealthy family members respectable people, and sheiks on the Temple Mount and did not want to make a physical effort, climb a ladder, and be humiliated, . It should be emphasized that there is no conflict between the families and everyone knows and recognizes the exact rights he has in the opening and closing ceremonies.
Until a few months ago, the representative of the Judah family was Abd al-Qader, a kind Judah, known as Abu Ihab, born in 1930, but due to his illness, the key to his nephew, Adiv Judah, passed. Here it is worth noting that the transfer of rights is not inherited from a white father but from brother to brother. Only when the younger brother dies or falls asleep do the rights pass to the next generation - from brother to brother. A representative of the Nusseibeh family in recent years is Vajia Nusseibeh, known as Abu Owada, who sits on his special bench at the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and is known to most teachers in Israel.
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THIS ACTIVITY?
In the past it was customary to give families dry foodstuffs like flour or oil, today they receive a token annual sum. On the part of the families, the strictness of receiving the payment is to create a continuum of the presumption of rights, and on the part of the testimony, the goal is to create an employee-employer relationship, i.e. to clarify who the employer is.
Do these people get up every day to open a church? of course not. For several decades, the families have decided to relieve themselves and appoint (for a fee) one of the church employees who will open and close the door daily in their place. The one who usually makes the opening is Omar Abu Somrein, who was permitted to stay at the Greek-Orthodox Abraham Monastery, in the plaza of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The reason the Greeks agreed that he would get a room in the convent is to save them the hassle of bringing the church openers. In the past, the testimonies had to rent a means of transportation that would bring the family representatives to the opening hour. It's not a simple hassle, so an employee who opens the Len Church in a nearby convent is a good situation for everyone.
SO WHO CONTROLS THE OPENING OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER IN JERUSALEM?
Ostensibly, Muslim families, but in practice, it is not possible to open the church without early opening of the doors from the inside, and this is a right reserved for Greek Orthodox. As for opening times - although opening hours are set years in advance, the only ones who can make a change are the Christian denominations and not the key holders. Three times a year, on the eve of Shabbat Haor, the key passes to one of the denominations, so that the annual sequence is broken and each of the large denominations gets to open the church. On Thursday before Shabbat, the key light is found among the Greek-Orthodox, on Friday with the Franciscans, and on Saturday with the Armenians.
In every important Christian ceremony, the representatives of the community will be present, dressed in their best clothes, and will prove to the whole world that they have their rights and are entitled to the honor that results from this strengthening.
The visit from tel Aviv hotels to the church of the holy sepulcher in Jerusalem is possible every day since the church is open every day, you can book your preferred pick up an hour and the number of the passengers and we will provide the most suitable option for you to get you to the old city of Jerusalem with one of our drivers in Israel if you chose to have a professional explanation about the holy sites of Jerusalem we will be happy to assist and provide you a licensed tour guide.