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The Arches of the Virgin

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Did Jesus Appear to His Mother After He Rose from the Dead?

Location – Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Map Coordinates - 31.778460, 35.229556

This is a long gallery in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher - an area under the custody of the Franciscan Catholics in the Holy Land. It’s called the Arches of the Virgin because it commemorates the moment that Mary visited the tomb of Jesus, where He appeared to her after His resurrection. We know from the Gospel of John, chapter 20, that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene. In contrast, this legendary appearance to Mary His mother is not mentioned in the Bible. The historic account of this meeting appears in two ancient sources – a third-century book called The Resurrection of Christ by Bartholomew the Apostle, and a 5th or 6th century book called The Gospel of Gamaliel. 

This appearance of Jesus to His mother really isn’t that hard to believe. After all, the Bible tells us that Jesus also appeared to His brother James (the first Bishop of Jerusalem) and Peter on separate occasions, but there is no record of what was spoken during these meetings. Therefore, it seems plausible that Jesus would also appear to His mother.


The Square Pillars.


A Constantinian pillar in the Crusader reconstruction of the church.

Back when the original Church of the Holy Sepulcher was completed in 335 AD, this area was part of a great worship hall called the martyrium, and this entire gallery was on the north side of that room. All the columns in this original martyrium were square. But in 1009 AD, the entire church was destroyed by an insane Caliph from Egypt, named Al Hakim. 39 years later in 1048 AD, this church was totally reconstructed, and the builders decided to switch from square pillars to round pillars, except that there are still a couple of square pillars in this gallery. These square pillars from the original Church of the Holy Sepulcher were probably used because they were the only pillars left standing after the entire church had been destroyed.


The North Wall (the restroom wall).


This wall was part of the original Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and there are holes in this wall that once supported large panels of marble that adorned the martyrium.

In both of the ancient books that record this meeting between Jesus and His mother, there are numerous transcriptions of what He is alleged to have said to her. From one of them, The Gospel of Gamaliel, we read these words, which have been attributed to Jesus:

“You have shed enough tears. He Who was crucified is alive and speaks to you, and consoles you. It is He Whom you are seeking. It is He Who is wearing the heavenly purple. He Whose tomb you seek is the One Who has shattered the bronze doors and liberated the prisoners from hell.”

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