And He said: «Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.» (Exodus Chapter 3)
What defines a religious space? What are these rules and regulations by which to behave, speak or dress in places defined as holy?
Is that the picture on the wall, the window overlooking the mountain or the legend about the man who ate and drank in this exact place 2000 years ago? And what happens if you remove the icon and hang it right next door? Does it change its definition? And does the guy with the jeans come to God as he changes his dress to the priest’s robe? What are those signs of the present and modern that invade to the holy world?
These are the questions I asked while wandering around the fascinating alleyways of the Christian Quarter of the old city in Jerusalem.
My friends from the Syrian Orthodox church exposed me to the rituals they have in a small room with burnt walls in the church of the Holy Sepulcher. That dusty and intimate place also wears it’s holiday clothes for feasts and prayers. Dozens of men and women gather together to hold the ceremony exactly here. In a place that is nothing but a cave which accumulates all the beings inside, almost completely devoid of symbols…
Their neighbor Armenians and the Greeks, who have much wider spaces, are pulling my eyes from time to time with their colorful prayers, songs and costumes. People and spaces – so based and not compromised (status quo, after all …) were revealed to me with a new story each time we met for a new session of talk and observation.