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Jerusalem: Muslim In Charge Of Key To Jesus' Tomb

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Published on 18 Jul 2019 / In News & Politics

Adeeb Joudeh, a Muslim, makes his way through the stone alleyways of Jerusalem’s walled Old City cradling the ancient key to one of Christianity’s holiest sites. Centuries ago, the imposing iron key to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried, was entrusted to his family, one of Jerusalem’s most prominent clans, says Joudeh. He dates the arrangement back to the time of Saladin, the Muslim conqueror who seized the holy city from the Crusaders in 1187. Another of the city’s oldest Muslim families, the Nusseibehs, were entrusted with the duty of opening and closing the church doors, a task they perform to this day. It requires firm fingers: The 800 year old key is 12 inches long and weighs half a pound. Christianity scholar Yisca Harani said having Muslim families in charge of the key and the doors helps somewhat in keeping the peace between the denominations. Harani said, “The church is definitely a model of co-existence. ”
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