October 18, 1009: Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah orders the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre Easter 1009

On this day, we commemorate the 1009 A.D. destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre [Grk: Ναός του Παναγίου Τάφου] in Jerusalem.

On October 18, 1009 A.D., Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered the complete destruction of the Church as part of a more general campaign against Christian places of worship in Palestine and Egypt.

In wide-ranging negotiations between the Fatimids and the Romaic (Byzantine) Empire in 1027–28, an agreement was reached.

The new Caliph Ali az-Zahir (Al-Hakim's son) agreed to allow the Church's rebuilding and redecoration.

The rebuilding was finally completed at a massive expense by Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos and Patriarch Nicephorus of Constantinople in 1048.

Today, the broader complex around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre serves as the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Simultaneously, control of the Church itself is shared among several Christian denominations and secular entities in complicated arrangements essentially unchanged for over 160 years, and some for much longer.

The main denominations sharing property over parts of the Church are the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian Apostolic. To a lesser degree, the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, and Ethiopian Orthodox.

By The Greco-Syrian Nation.

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This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor

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