Today we are watching a special ceremony here in Jerusalem: The Opening of the doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – the holiest place on earth for Christians! But, this ceremony is conducted by 2 Muslim families – Only in Jerusalem can such religious coexistence happen!
How it all started
In 1192 after Salah A-Din recaptured Jerusalem he assigned the roll of opening the Doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to 2 Muslim families, the Nuseibeh as the Door Keeper and the Joudeh as the key keeper. So for more than 800 years, every time the doors are opened a member of the Joudeh family bring the Key and a member of the Nuseibeh family use the key and open the doors. Just as we are going to watch today.
During Regular Days
The Doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are opened daily at 4:00 AM, but on special days, as today on Holy Thursday, the doors are closed for special praying inside the church during the day. This gives us the opportunity to watch this interesting ceremony of opening the doors of the Church of the holy sepulchre at regular hours.
OPENING THE DOORS DURING SPECIAL DAYS
Since this ceremony when conducted at regular hours draws much interest, the ceremony today is led by a member of the Franciscan Custodial of the holy land, Father Artemio Vitores, together with the 2 Muslim family members.
Here is father Artemio presenting the key.
Now you can see Mr. Wajeeh from the Nuseibeh family knocking on the doors and waiting for the priests inside the church to hand him a ladder to reach the upper lock. After he unlocks the doors he returns the key to Mr. Adeeb Jawad from the Joudeh family who keeps the key until the next time the doors are opened.
Isn’t that amazing?? The Doors to the holiest place on earth for Christians – are controlled by two Muslim families!!
Now here you can watch the doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre closed at night!