The shrine which contained the tomb where Jesus Christ ’s body lay for three days after his crucifixion has been opened.
The tomb has been sealed in marble since at least 1555 to protect it from pilgrims who kept stealing pieces as holy relics.But over the centuries the church had been destroyed and rebuilt so many times there were doubts about what it contained.
Now the tomb’s marble lid has been removed for the first time in five centuries – revealing a miraculous discovery.
The researchers also discovered a second grey marble slab no one knew existed, engraved with a cross they believe was carved in the 12th century by the Crusaders.
Archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert of National Geographic, which was a partner in the project, says:
“The most amazing thing for me was when we removed the first layer of dust and found a second piece of marble.
“This one was grey, not creamy white like the exterior, and right in the middle of it was a beautifully inscribed cross. We had no idea that was there.The shrine has been destroyed many times by fire, earthquakes, and invasions over the centuries. We didn’t really know if they had built it in exactly the same place every time.