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Rome Reports

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Church of the Holy Sepulcher: the chosen site for the Pope's ecumenical gathering

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the chosen location for the ecumenical meeting on Sunday between Pope Francis and Bartholomew. The basilica sits atop the historical sites of the Crucifixion, and Christ's tomb. The building's architecture is very complex, influenced greatly by the Crusaders, which conquered Jerusalem in 1099. Nowadays, the property is divided among several Christian groups, including Syriac, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian and Greek Orthodox, as well as Roman Catholics. Each community avidly watches over their space. For all Christians, the site is loaded with meaning, especially as the site of the Resurrection of Christ. The remains of his tomb are enclosed within a small structure under the main dome. The building also contains the stone that covered the entrance to the burial, and the Stone of the Anointing. According to tradition, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus used the Stone to prepare Christ's body for burial. The basilica was front and center during the visit of all three Pope's to the Holy Land. It'll also play a key role during Pope Francis' upcoming visit. ; JRB/RCA RR JM -PR Up:RCA