The ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, constructed over the places where Jesus was crucified and buried, has been the focus of Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land since the 4th century. Built by the Emperor Constantine at the urging of Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem, the church has suffered earthquakes, fires, and devastation over the centuries; it has been fought over by competing Christian churches. It’s authenticity has been questioned since the time of the Enlightenment in the 17th century, yet this church still has the best claim to be the place where the greatest of all Christian mysteries happened.
The church received its worst blow when the calif Hakim began demolishing the church in 1009, an action that lead to the Crusades. Once Jerusalem was conquered, the crusaders rebuilt the church, but only to half its former proportions.
Reliable historians weigh in positively today on the claims of the Church of the Holy Sepucher
“Is this the place where Christ died and was buried?” Jerome Murphy-O’Connor asks in his solidly researched “The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide” (New York, 2008).
“Yes, very probably,” he answers.