The image of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the pilgrim descriptions of the 19-th century
Authors: Elena S. Lavrentyeva
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This article discusses the pilgrim descriptions of the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre, compiled in the 19-th century by travelers, pilgrims, researchers,
writers, scientists, representatives of the clergy and authorities. One of the
main reasons for the emergence of a viable interest in the history and structure of the Church was the fire of 1808, which destroyed almost two-thirds of
the building. It was rebuilt by N. Komnenos as soon as possible (1809–1810)
but with some structural changes: the rotunda of the Resurrection was rebuilt, as well as the southern zone of the Church, where Golgotha is located.
In its updated form, it was not accepted and was widely criticized by the
public. A false rumor was even circulated that the fire in the Church was deliberate. 150 years later grand restoration work was carried out (1960–1977),
during which the building was restored as it was before the fire of 1808.
However, during this restoration, about which almost nothing was reported in the press, many architectural elements were replaced with replicas,
which influenced its modern appearance. The descriptions of the architectural appearance of the shrine during the 19th century, relate to the Komnenos’
Church, which, although it was rebuilt, still retained in its structure the surviving fragments of a medieval building.