Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site where Jesus was buried according to early legend, is a very busy place. Tour guides pass through with endless groups of picture-snapping visitors, each guide recounting the detailed history of the site. It’s noisy, distracting, thouroughly touristy. After several days in and around the church I wanted to convey something more profound, more tranquil.
On some mornings the Greek Orthodox Metropol Daniel stood at at the main door and chatted with visitors. Seeing a pause in the continuous stream of tourists, and seeing his outline against the black emptiness of the doorway, I asked him to step forward into the light and made this image. The balance between the ancient carved wooden door and his relaxed pose, set against the black background, show something of the quietness of the site even amidst all the hubbub of the crowd
On a personal note, it’s interesting to spend time at what could be said to be one of the holiest sites of Christendom. One walks around thinking “This is amazing. I should be having a religious experience!!” But it is so noisy, so crowded, that it seems more like Disneyland. Then when you leave, a sign above the lintel, above the doorway in the photo, seen from the interior on the way out, says, “He is not here! He goes before you into Galilee.”