The head of the Christian Communities in charge of the Status Quo in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Francesco Patton (L) custos of Franciscan friars, Theophilos III (C) Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and Nourhan Manoughian (R) Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem shake hands after they signed an agreement to initiate a project for the restoration and rehabilitation of the foundation of the Tomb of Jesus and the pavement of all the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the Old City of Jerusalem, on May 27, 2019. (Photo by THOMAS COEX / AFP)

JERUSALEM (cruxnow.com) – The three churches in charge of Jerusalem’s holiest Christian site say they have reached an agreement to begin a multi-million dollar renovation of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Leaders of the Greek Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian churches issued a statement Monday announcing the project to restore the foundations and flooring of the church, where Christian tradition says Jesus was crucified, entombed and resurrected.

A Greek team headed the 2016 restoration project to preserve the aedicule, a large structure inside the church housing the tomb.

“This project comes immediately after the positive outcome of the project for the restoration of the Holy Tomb itself. It marks and confirms the Communities’ ongoing commitment to the maintenance and rehabilitation of this Holiest place, which in its silence and bareness, eloquently proclaims the very essence of our Faith,” the church leaders said in a joint statement.

“The project will be carried out in two phases, a first stage of study for the determination of the current situation of the foundations and a second phase of restoration of the foundations and of the pavement of the church. Two Italian academic and scientific institution of the highest qualification shall carry out the studies and execute the works under the supervision of the joint committee of the three Communities,” it continued.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is shared by multiple Christian sects under a status quo management agreement. Even perceived alterations to the status quo have resulted in arguments or violence.

Jordan’s King Abdullah announced May 7 an offer to help with the restoration of the church from his own funds.

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