ASIA/HOLY LAND - Restoration of the Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre to be completed before Easter

Friday, 3 March 2017 holy places   ecumenicalism

Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) - After nine months of works the restoration of the Edicule of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is about to end. The media linked to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land inform that the scaffolds were removed and also the steel beams, placed in 1947, during the British Protectorate to support the architectural structure and in danger after the 1927 earthquake have been removed.
An ecumenical celebration, scheduled for March 22, will mark the end of the restoration. According to the Greek team that carried out the works, another ten more months of work and 6 million euro will be needed, to tackle the causes – starting from humidity - that weaken the entire building of the Holy Sepulchre.
The restoration work of the Edicule started in the spring of 2016. Antonia Moropoulou, professor at the National Technical University of Athens, scientific coordinator of the project at the beginning of the works had explained that the structure of the Edicule was stable, but needed urgent redevelopment, after years of exposure to environmental factors such as water, humidity and smoke from candles. It was also important to find a non-invasive system to secure the Edicule from the risks of possible earthquakes. At the beginning of the works, the project had a planned cost of about $ 3.3 million, supported by the Catholic Church - through the Custody of the Holy Land - through the Greek Orthodox Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church. In April 2016, the King of Jordan Abdallah II had sent a substantial personal donation for the project. Last October, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also offered as a "personal contribution" a donation to support the restoration of the Holy Sepulchre Edicule works (see Fides 18/10/2017). Recently (see Fides 28/02/2017), the diplomat Issa Amil Kassissieh, Ambassador of the State of Palestine to the Holy See, confirmed to Agenzia Fides that the Holy See will offer a "substantial donation" to contribute to the current restoration work both at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and at the Nativity Basilica in Bethlehem. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 03/03/2017)