The Dedication of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre

On 15th July, as tradition has it, the Solemnity of the Dedication of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre was celebrated at the Holy Sepulchre.

The liturgical rite of the Dedication, which includes both anointing the altar and the walls of the building, and incensation, is appropriate so that the Church becomes the sign of the only real temple that is the body of Christ, formed by all the baptized. Celebrated only during the inauguration of buildings of worship, since 870 it has commemorated the anniversary of the liturgical rite in Jerusalem. 

The Basilica of the Anastasis or Holy Sepulchre, built by Emperor Constantine and his mother St Helen, was consecrated in September 355. The current one, however, is a synthesis of the buildings from Constantine’s time and of the building by the Crusaders and was dedicated on 15th July 1149. The Basilica brings together the places linked to the death and resurrection of Jesus, underlining the unity of the two mysteries. The mysteries that took place here have made it Holy, which is why this solemnity celebrates and renews once again the joy of Easter.

"This is the place where our praise for God must never end. Here the hallelujah, which is the song of joy and praise par excellence, should never cease,” the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, who presided the celebration, said during his comment on the Gospel. "We thank God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for this marvelous vocation and for this extraordinary mission which has been given to us: to protect this place, to live in this place and to celebrate in this place."

Giovanni Malaspina