I went back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was Ash Wednesday.
Above is the Mosque of Omar, which is right next to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I saturated the colors a little bit, but the lights on the minaret are actually green.
Some candle holders in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I toned down the color in this photo, bring it closer to black and white.
This is when I just decided to do a completely black and white photo of a close up of some candles. This area is above Golgotha and you can donate some money and then light some candles.
Again, to help this picture actually look well I had to mess with the colors. It is very hard to get the photos to turn out well in this part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I feel slightly bad already taking pictures while people are praying, and I would feel 10 times worse if I was using my flash, just so I could have a picture where everything is in full color.
Now for the story.
Yes, I realize that Ash Wednesday was a while ago, and I realized that I had posted these photos on my Facebook page, but I had not posted them on my blog.
To begin, most of us forgot about Ash Wednesday until about 2 days prior to it actually occurring. We thought, "Hey, why not go to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Ash Wednesday for a good ol' ashing." Someone got the times for the service and we heading into the Old City after our Hebrew class was finished that day. Three words on the Old City on Ash Wednesday, "Holy tourists, Batman!" They were everywhere. I realize that I am not an Israeli citizen, but I no longer feel like a tourist, and we all secretly love speaking the very minute Hebrew we know around them.
We got to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and there were so many people. We wedged our way through the tour groups and made our way into the sanctuary. We perused all the things, but at a much slower pace due to all the people. When we were above Golgotha a service started and we had front row seats. One problem. It was a Greek Orthodox service. Don't get me wrong, it was super cool, but I didn't understand a thing. I once heard "nike" (NEE-kay), which is "victory" in Greek I believe. I also heard a few "kristos" in there too. However, one of my friends particularly wanted to get ashed today, and Greek Orthodox do not do ashings, at least not at this one service.
We wandered back downstairs and found someone who knew about the services. She showed them her iPhone with the times on it. It was then that we realized that the service that we thought started at 6:30pm, probably in fact happened at 6:30am. That's military time for you. Yup, no ashings for us. However, we can still say that we got to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Ash Wednesday. Luckily, there are palm trees everywhere here, and if we really wanted to we could've ashed each other. Regardless, we had a fun time. There is never a dull moment in the Old City.