tomb of christ

A man seen lying and praying on top of the tomb of Jesus Christ, as thousands of Orthodox Christian worshippers take part in the Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed to be the burial site of Jesus Christ, in Jerusalem’s Old City during the Easter holiday. April 30, 2016. Photo by Hadas Parush

Peter and John Running to the Tomb by Eugene Burnand

Both Peter and John are running at top speed to see if the news which Mary Magdalene had brought to them is accurate. The brilliant dawn of the resurrection morn is left behind as they fly with eager feet toward the Sun of Righteousness, Who, according to Mary Magdalene, has ‘risen from the tomb.’ Notice how the artist has produced the illusion of motion. John’s hair ripples backward as his body bends forward against the wind. The folds of his white robe accentuate this. That Peter is the older and is losing out in the race is evident. His longer locks flare in the wind, his cloak tosses behind him, and his mouth opens to make labored breathing easier, while his hand presses back a heart that is well-nigh bursting with anticipated joy and sorrow. John has the youth in his favor. His hands are clasped together in front of his bosom, not for the purpose of making breathing easier, but rather as if in the prayer of gratitude over the astounding joy of seeing Jesus alive once more. He seems not to be conscious of the movement of his limbs, his thoughts are projected far ahead, and even his eyes are fixed on the gate of the garden wall that surrounds the tomb where Jesus lay.

As Peter and John are racing toward that empty tomb on the first Easter morning, they are losing their interest in the mere emptiness of the tomb, which Mary Magdalene had so tragically proclaimed, and running with expectancy to find a Risen Christ, who is indeed the Son of the Living God. The eagerness of that expectancy is accentuated in every line of face and body.

A letter from Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV to the Zaporozhian Cossacks in 1676,

As the Sultan; son of Muhammad; brother of the sun and moon; grandson and viceroy of God; ruler of the kingdoms of Macedonia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Upper and Lower Egypt; emperor of emperors; sovereign of sovereigns; extraordinary knight, never defeated; steadfast guardian of the tomb of Jesus Christ; trustee chosen by God Himself; the hope and comfort of Muslims; confounder and great defender of Christians - I command you, the Zaporogian Cossacks, to submit to me voluntarily and without any resistance, and to desist from troubling me with your attacks.

Reply from the Zaphorozhian Cossacks,

O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil’s kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are you, that can’t slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil excretes, and your army eats. You will not, you son of a bitch, make subjects of Christian sons; we’ve no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, fuck your mother.

You Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig’s snout, mare’s arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw your own mother!

So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won’t even be herding pigs for the Christians. Now we’ll conclude, for we don’t know the date and don’t own a calendar; the moon’s in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day’s the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!

Orthodox Christian worshippers from the Ethiopian community during the Holy Fire ceremony at their Church of Deir Al Sultan, next to the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem, Israel, April 15, 2017. Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that the Holy Fire, which emanates from within the Tomb of Christ, spontaneously lights other lamps and candles around the church and reaches Jerusalem and even foreign countries. The fire represents the flame of the resurrection power. (Photo: Atef Safadi/EPA)

“The Resurrection of the Christ” by Paolo Veronese, 1570

Victimae Paschali Laudes (Sequence from Easter Sunday)
Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeems;
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconciles sinners to the Father.
Death and life have contended in that combat stupendous:
The Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal.
Speak, Mary, declaring
What you saw, wayfaring.
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
The glory of Jesus’ resurrection;
Bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
Yes, Christ my hope is arisen;
To Galilee he goes before you.”
Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia.