Saturday, July 3, 2010

On a value of prayer

So I was kicked out of another church today.  This time, Russian Orthodox church of Alexander Nevsky.  (What has Alexander Nevsky to do with Jerusalem, you might ask.  Don't.)  

The church has "judgement gate" an old Roman/Herodian gate, onto which the gate of the Holy Sepulcher was built, so it has the largest archaeological remains of Constantine's original church.  There was a nun praying there, intensely chanting and occasionally bowing.  So I set up my tripod and camera and went to work.  I took two 360 panoramas, and several dozen other pictures of everything of interest, all the time taking care not to disturb the nun in her prayers.  After about a half an hour of photography, the nun stopped her prayers, looked and me, and said, in Russian, "you can't take pictures here."  Considering I was actually done photographing, I didn't object, but was quietly expelled.  I don't know if the nun was so intense in prayer that she hadn't noticed me, or if she was annoyed for a half an hour, but refused to stop her prayers to throw me out.  At any rate, because of her intense devotion, I got to take all the pictures I wanted before being expelled.  

The outer wall of Constantin'e Church

Herodian stones = stones with Herodian bosses reused in the Holy Sepulcher, quite possibly from the Temple Mount.

The inner wall of the main gate to Constantine's Holy Sepulcher

The nun at prayer before the stone where Russian  tradition holds Christ fell while on the way to Golgotha.