Jordan’s King Abdullah II says he will personally pay the estimated $3.4-million cost for the restoration of the endangered tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
“His Majesty King Abdullah has issued a Royal Benefaction (makruma) to provide for the restoration of Jesus’ Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, at His Majesty’s personal expense,” the Jordan Times reports.
The Royal Court said in a statement that it has “informed the Jerusalem Patriarchate of His Majesty’s makruma [benefaction] in a letter sent to His Beatitude Kyrios Kyrios Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine and Jordan.”
The patriarch “commended the generosity of His Majesty [who] has always been, and shall remain, the faithful Guardian and Custodian of the Christian and Muslim Holy Sites in Jerusalem. … His Majesty King Abdullah embodies in deed, and not only in word, the shared living of Muslims and Christians all over the world and particularly in the Holy Land,” emphasizing the Hashemites’ “unique historic role in the preservation of both Christian and Muslim Holy Sites in Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories.”
Patriarch Theophilos also said that this “continuing Jordanian Hashemite patronage has been an indelible source of support for all the churches in the Holy Land and all the Christians in the East.”
The New York Times reported last week that “the 206-year-old structure, held together by a 69-year-old iron cage, is an uncomfortable, often embarrassing symbol of Christian divisions, which have periodically erupted into tensions. In 2008, monks and priests brawled near the shrine, throwing punches and pulling one another’s hair not far from the tomb where Christians believe Jesus was resurrected. But in recent weeks, scaffolding has gone up a few feet from the shrine in the gloomy shadows of the Arches of the Virgin, the first step in a rare agreement by the various Christian communities to save the dilapidated shrine, also called the Aedicule, from falling down.”