FaithWorld

Church of the Holy Sepulchre in row over Calvary water bill

By Reuters Staff
November 2, 2012

(Worshippers hold candles as they take part in the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old city April 14, 2012. REUTERS/Nir Elias)

Jesus may have walked on water and turned it into wine but the hefty water bill for one of the holiest sites of Christendom is proving a headache for the church.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, said to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, is struggling with a 9 million shekel ($2.3 million) unpaid bill owed to the Jerusalem water company.

This week the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which has extensive and valuable property holdings in the Holy Land and maintains a headquarters in the ancient church, had its bank account frozen, said an official at water company Hagihon.

A report in Israeli newspaper Maariv on Friday said the Patriarchate was threatening to shut the doors of the church, which is a major pilgrimage site for millions of tourists.

The church lies deep inside Jerusalem’s Old City walls. It encompasses Golgotha, or Calvary, where Jesus is believed to have been crucified and the tomb where he was buried and resurrected.

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