fever and sickness. The Church of St. John the Baptist, or " Forerunner," has been built
above a much older church, which is half-filled with rubbish, but in a good state of preservation.
The floor of this old church is twenty-five feet below the present level of the " Street of the
Christians "—a good proof of the great accumulation of rubbish in this part of the city. At
Easter time Christian Street is thronged with pilgrims passing to and fro, or making purchases
at the numerous shops, and presents an appearance of life and animation which it is far from
possessing during the autumn and winter months. On the left-hand side of the street, near
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is the great Greek Monastery, celebrated for the library
and manuscripts which it contains. Five churches—of which the oldest is that of St. Thecla
—are included in the monastery, and there is considerable accommodation for the monks and
for pilgrims who visit Jerusalem. On the right-hand side of the street a narrow passage and
flight of steps lead down to the courtyard in front of the entrance to the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre (see page 16). The open court is the favourite resort of pedlars from Bethlehem,
who expose their wares for sale on the pavement, and drive a thriving trade in rosaries,
mother-of-pearl ornaments, olive-wood trinkets, and other small articles, which the pilgrims
purchase as mementoes of their visit to the Holy City.
A discussion of the many difficult questions connected with the site of the Holy
Sepulchre would be beyond the scope of the present work; it will be sufficient here to
state briefly the nature of the theories which have been advanced, and to give a slight sketch
of the history of the church. The three principal theories are :—F'irst, that the Sepulchre
of our Lord was beneath the " Sakhra" or Rock in the Haram esh Sherif, and that the noble
building above it, the " Dome of the Rock," is the Church of the Resurrection erected by the
Emperor Constantine in the fourth century. According to this theory, of which Mr. James.
Fergusson is the well-known author and able exponent, the tradition relating to the site of the
sepulchre was transferred to the present tomb in the eleventh century. Second, that the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre occupies the ground once covered by the churches of
Constantine, and that it contains within its walls the tomb of Christ. Third, that the true
sepulchre was to the north of the city without the present walls, and was never found, but
that the present " Holy Sepulchre" is the tomb "miraculously discovered" by Constantine,
and that over which he built his church.
The first question that arises is whether Constantine really found the " new sepulchre
wherein was never man yet laid," which Joseph of Arimathsea " had hewn out in the rock" in
his own garden. What is historically certain is that Constantine erected on the "discovered
ground" a magnificent group of buildings, which were completed and dedicated in 335 a.d.
In 614 a.d., when the Persians captured Jerusalem, the Great Basilica, or Martyrion, was
wholly or partially destroyed by fire, but it was rebuilt about 626 a.d. by Modestus, Superior
of the Monastery of Theodosius. The buildings, which are fully described by a French
bishop, Arculf, who saw them about 700 a.d., then consisted of the Anastasis, or Church of the
Resurrection, which contained the Holy Sepulchre; the Basilica, or Martyrion, a five-aisled