The tomb of Jesus and the church sitting atop it helped me find true Christianity.
In late 2016, researchers gained access to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. They uncovered the limestone slab where Jesus body lay after His crucifixion.
“It appears to be visible proof that the location of the tomb has not shifted through time, something that scientists and historians have wondered for decades,” said Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic’s archaeologist-in-residence.
My conversion to Orthodoxy involved learning about the history of the early Church. I learned that the importance of Jesus was not lost on the people who knew Him. They preserved in writing and in oral tradition the things He said, the commands He gave, and the places in which He performed His ministry.
Truth is not forgotten in the mists of time, as I assumed. The Church was not some lost knowledge that was only uncovered in 20th Century America. Holy Tradition was handed down with great care to this day, and preserved in the Holy Orthodox Church.
The Tomb of Jesus
All Protestant denominations point to a man as their founder. Martin Luther. John Calvin. William Miller. Joseph Smith. They have all claimed to have recovered Truth from an errant and apostate Church.
But the founder of the Orthodox Church was not an traveling preacher or a self-styled prophet. It was Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus said that the Church He would found would endure, and that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it.
When He was crucified and buried, His followers marked the location of the tomb. After His Resurrection, the tomb of Jesus was not discarded and forgotten. It was venerated and honored as a sacred place. Christ was not forgotten, because the people who knew Him kept the faith. They also passed it on to this present day.
The truth Jesus’ followers passed down include all of the traditions of the Orthodox Church. The veneration of the Theotokos. The use of icons in worship. The understanding that Holy Tradition stands alongside the written Scriptures. We preserve these things because they are what the earliest Christians taught us.
Researchers uncovering the tomb of Jesus were amazed by their discoveries. Those interested in biblical archaeology may find the discovery interesting or inspiring. Some may see it as proof of nothing at all.
Orthodox Christians were not surprised. We’ve known it was there all along.
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