Candlesticks from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

These rare photos I took in the Latin Chapel of the Crucifixion (where the nailing to the Cross took place on Mt. Calvary).  This is located in one massive church, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem; the oldest part which dates back to the time of the Empress Helena.  I have written on the subject of this altar before here with its various candlesticks that are changed with some frequency depending upon the liturgical season and local feasts.  The Franciscans last did work in this chapel in 1937, when it was embellished with mosaics by D'Achiardi and Trifoglio.

In these photos seen here are the simplex silver candlesticks as they appear today, which I sometimes see atop the altar.  As is evidenced from the photos, the candlesticks have been meticulously cared for and cleaned with diligence, attention and frequency by the Franciscans of the Holy Land, who have a small convent attached to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre via their own sacristy.    

These candlesticks I have been told were made in Italy, and are possibly from Venice, perhaps from the mid-nineteenth century.  The Caeremoniale Episcoporum mentions silver for great feasts when possible, but forbids the use of silver candlesticks for Good Friday.

Below is a detail of the coat-of-arms of the Custody of the Holy Land on the left, the custodian priory of the Friars Minor who belong to the Franciscan Province of the Holy Land (founded in 1217 by St. Francis of Assisi).  On the right can be seen the coat-of-arms of the Franciscan Order, with the arm of Christ and the arm of St. Francis, both displaying the stigmata.  

The angel details are in reference to the seraphic order.  There is an old story that in response to his earnest prayer, the Lord appeared to St. Francis in the form of a seraph, a six-winged angel (usually considered the highest order of angelic beings, with a special duty to love God).  After this vision Christ bestowed upon St. Francis the wounds of the stigmata, marked for the rest of his life with this unique sign of the love of Christ. 

Finally, the feet of the candlesticks allude in some way to the Franciscan friars, who wear sandals with bare feet.  These treasures of inestimable value give glory to God and honor Our Divine Savior while enhancing this most sacred of liturgical spaces, the location where Christ was nailed to the cross.  Omnis honor et gloria.   

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