The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the holiest sites in Christendom, has finished completing a $3 million dollar restoration of a shrine believed to be the burial site of Jesus. The shrine is known as the edicule and was constructed in the fourth century by Emperor Constantine I. The shrine had been worn by fire and water damage, candle smoke and human visitors amongst other things. Since the nineteenth century, the shrine has been propped up by an iron cage.
The tomb was last restored in 1810 after a fire, but was deemed to be unsafe by Israeli authorities last year. The restoration was funded largely by the World Monuments Fund, with additional donations from the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Roman Catholic denominations, and a personal donation from King Abdullah II of Jordan. The restoration team revealed a marble bench on which according to tradition, Jesus was buried . They also created an opening through which visitors can peer at the underlying rock.