When I visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem earlier this year, I walked down into the basement of the building and found a dark, underground chapel with huge amounts of character and charm. Whereas the rest of the church has undergone very obvious later renovation, this chapel – dedicated to Saint Helena – was like walking back into the 12th century.
It was built in the crusader period though excavations in the 1970s revealed not only parts of the original 4th century basilica constructed by the Emperor Constantine – son of Saint Helena – but the foundations of the Roman temple structure erected by Hadrian after the crushing of the Jewish revolt in the 2nd century.
Saint Helena went to Jerusalem after her son converted to Christianity and reputedly found many relics of Jesus including the True Cross. A chair she sat in during this quest is included in the chapel. The True Cross was the most sacred relic of the Templars. Here are three of my photos taken in the chapel and I hope they evoke the atmosphere in that place.