From the Temple to the Sepulchre: The Jerusalem Ordinal as Exemplary Liturgy




Parmenter, Eva Marie

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In the city of Jerusalem God dwelled among his people, his presence symbolically enshrined in the Ark of the Covenant within the Temple; there too the incarnate God lived among his people, suffered, died, and rose again. As early as the fourth century, Christians held Jerusalem to be an object of pilgrimage, a place set aside for commemoration and worship of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The Frankish and Eastern Christians of the eleventh and twelfth centuries recovered the Holy Land from Islamic occupation and established the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem to facilitate Christian piety and pilgrimage to the holy sites of the Levant. A new liturgy, preserved in the Jerusalem Ordinal, was composed to celebrate the significance of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre which houses the sites of Christ’s crucifixion and burial. The text, art, and architecture of the Holy Land, particularly those of the Holy Sepulchre, reflect a deep conviction that liturgy is a communal act glorifying to God and fitting for the human person and that a space decorated with beautiful art and architecture is best fitted to the end of liturgy; they also testify to a belief that liturgy is an appropriate mode of worship for embodied persons, that beauty is both intrinsically doxological and at the same time restores the senses’ rightful orientation towards God. These elements in the Jerusalem liturgy are exemplars for Christian liturgical practice outside of their historical moment and I will argue that they ought to inform contemporary liturgical practice and worship, particularly in the Catholic Church.



The City of David, What is liturgy?, The Jerusalem Ordinal: A Reformed Liturgy for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Rome, Bib. Vat., Barb. Lat. 659), Art and Architecture of the Holy Sepulchre, An Appeal to Recover the Liturgical Vision of the Jerusalem Ordinal