Moscow, December 15, Interfax - Patriarch Theophilus urges not to consider a blasphemy works on exposing the Holy Sepulchre.
"The question should not be posed like this. The thing is that restoration works have been held in the Church of Resurrection for many years and the Edicule was the only part of the church that was not restored. It needs restoration, in particular the burial cave of Christ, the Sepulchre of the Lord. It is the reason," the patriarch said in his interview with the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem.
It was earlier reported that on October 26, experts of the Athens polytechnic university took off the marble platforms covering the stone burial bed of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem, representatives of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land and the Armenian Patriarchate attended the works.
According to the Patriarch Theophilus, works go according to the plan and will have been completed by March 2017.
"So we will be able to celebrate the Easter on the Sepulchre of the Lord," he said.
The body of the Savior after taking off the cross was laid to the stone burial bed. The existing premises the same as the cave destroyed in 1009 is called the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord.
The existing construction was build over the Lord's Sepulchre in 1810 after destructive fire in the church in 1808. The Edicule has not been restored since 1810.
For several dozens of years the building was subjected to the influence of the weather as the doom of the rotunda over the Edicule had open hole till 1868. Earthquakes seriously damaged the Edicule in 1927 and 1934. It resulted in the lack of sustainability and threat of partial failure, so steel pillars were set up around the Edicule in 1947 as a temporal measure. Excessive humidity caused by the presence of millions of pilgrims and tourists and exposure to heat of candles also has negative impact on the construction.
The Holy Fire descends to the Edicule every year on the eve of the Orthodox Easter, which is delivered to dioceses of the Russian Orthodox churches and to the patriarchal service to Moscow.