Jordan’s King Abdullah is to contribute an unspecified amount towards the upcoming renovation of Jesus’s Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Jordan Times reported.
The work is expected to begin in May and to be completed in early 2017. The site will remain open to visitors during the refurbishment.
The king’s decision to donate “at His Majesty’s personal expense” was conveyed in a letter from the Royal Hashemite Court to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch in Jerusalem, Theophilos III.
According to the Jordanian news agency Petra, Theophilos III signed an agreement with the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in March to restore the tomb — where Jesus is said to have been buried before his resurrection — in cooperation with the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Franciscan missionaries in the Holy Land.
The shrine, several meters tall and standing under the church’s dome, has for decades been held together by a metal frame.
Its marble slabs have been weakened over the years in part by daily visits by thousands of pilgrims and tourists.
It will be painstakingly dismantled and rebuilt during eight months of restoration work, said the Custody of the Holy Land, which oversees Roman Catholic properties in the area.
Broken or fragile parts will be replaced while marble slabs that can be preserved will be cleaned, and the structure supporting them will be reinforced.
The shrine was built in the early 19th century over the site of the cave where Jesus is believed to have been buried.