A divine liturgy was celebrated at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on September 17th by Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, along with Archbishop Theophanes of Gerassa (Jerusalem Patriarchate) and Bishop Antonije of Moravica (Serbian Orthodox Church). Clergy from the Jerusalem, Russian, Serbian, and Romanian Orthodox Churches co-officiated with the hierarchs.
Pilgrims from Russia, Serbia, and Romania prayed at the Church of the Resurrection of Christ. The service was conducted in Greek, Church Slavonic, and Romanian languages.
As reported by the press service of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, on September 16th, Metropolitan Varsonofy performed the All-Night Vigil at the Trinity Cathedral of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission.
The complex of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ was built in the 4th century by order of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine the Great at the place of the Crucifixion, burial, and Resurrection of Christ. This place was discovered by the mother of the emperor, the Equal-to-the-Apostles Queen Helena. Here, she found the Lord's Cross. The place of its discovery belongs to the Orthodox Church. The first church was destroyed by the Persians in the 7th century. It was subsequently restored and destroyed several times.
The Church houses the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Syrian Churches, each with its own chapels. At the entrance to the church lies the Stone of Anointing, on which the body of the Lord, taken from the Cross, was placed.
The Keepers of the Holy Sepulchre are members of the Holy Sepulchre Brotherhood, which includes all the monastic communities of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. The main purpose of the brotherhood is to maintain Orthodoxy in the Holy Land, preserve the holy places, and care for the Orthodox flock. The Keepers of the Holy Sepulchre serve at the Kouvouklion, ensuring the respectful behavior of pilgrims.
The Kouvouklion chapel, the location of Christ's Tomb, is situated in the rotunda of the church. It is the most ancient Christian sanctuary visited by Christian pilgrims. The Kouvouklion is divided into two parts: the Angel's Chapel, where the angel's announcement to the Myrrh-bearing Women took place, and the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, which contains the great sanctuary itself. When the Divine Liturgy is celebrated in the Kouvouklion with the archpastoral rite, the Three-Day Bed in the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre becomes the altar, and the marble pedestal in the Angel's Chapel, with a portion of the holy stone removed by the angel, serves as the throne.
Opposite the entrance to the Kouvouklion stands the Church of the Resurrection (Katholikon), the Cathedral of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. Here, pilgrims who participated in the liturgy celebrated in the Kouvouklion receive Communion.