The Crusader transformation
The growing difficulties faced by Christians in traveling to the Holy Places led the Byzantine Emperor to request aid from the West, which responded by launching the Crusades.
On 15 July 1099 the Crusaders took Jerusalem by storm, massacring Jews and Muslims, and made the city the heart of their kingdom for nearly a century, until 2 October 1187.
Shortly after the conquest, Count Godfrey de Bouillon was given the title of “Advocatus”, i.e., Protector, of the Holy Sepulchre, with the implicit task of defending the Holy Sites on behalf of the Pope and Latin clergy.
The Crusaders began the works of reorganizing the different parts of the recently-restored sanctuary at the heart of Christianity. To adapt the sanctuary to the Latin liturgy, in the area of the former Triportico a Chorus Dominorum was constructed connecting to the Anastasis, in which the Latin clergy officiated. The other important development during Crusader times was the construction of the Chapel of St. Helena in the area where Jerusalem tradition holds that the True Cross was found by Constantine’s mother.
The Crusaders’ objective was to create a single church grouping together all of the separate places where memories were celebrated there, giving the new church a form that would be appropriate for welcoming thousands of pilgrims.
The initial works carried out during the reign of King Baldwin (1100-1118) were characterized by the diversity of European Romanesque styles employed. Over time a greater unity in style was achieved, due above all to artists working for King Baldwin III (1140-1150).
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre as it has arrived to us today continues to echo the Crusader Romanesque style which gathered together into a single structure the sacred memories linked to Christ’s death and resurrection.
Watch the video of 3d recostruction