The Chapel of the Finding of the Cross is a crypt in the eastern and of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Since the time of the Crusaders it is believed to be the place where a piece of Jesus’ cross was found.
History of the Cross
Many legends developed over the origin of the cross, as well as its fate. Perhaps the most famous legend claimed that Queen Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, found a piece of the cross stashed in a cave near the Golgotha. Known as the “True Cross”, The sacred relic was exhibited at the church for several centuries, but was confiscated by the Persian in 614 CE, and again in 1187 CE by Saladin. Since then it is lost.
The Crusaders were apparently the first to suggest locating the place of finding the cross in a cave east of the Golgotha. The limited research conducted in that cavity seems to indicate it was originally a quarry and later a water reservoir.
Visiting the Chapel of the Finding of the Cross
The Chapel of the finding of the Cross is accessed from within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is shared control by the Catholic and the Greek-Orthodox Church, while the stairs leading to it pass through an Armenian chapel.
For a full appreciation of the chapel, it is recommended to combine in a guided tour of Jeruslaem’s old city highlights.