Live images: Jesus’ Tomb unveiled in the Holy Sepulchre Wed, March 22, 2017
Latest pictures as tomb is unveiled in the Holy Sepulchre ahead of Easter
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The restored Edicule is seen during a ceremony marking the end of restoration work on the site of Jesus's tomb, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem's Old City
Religious leaders and donors are gathering for the reopening of the shrine where Jesus is believed to have been buried before rising from the dead.
The tomb, which is part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, is a major pilgrimage site visited by millions of Christians every year.
The renovation has restored the tomb to its former glory after it was left discoloured by soot due to centuries of candle smoke and pilgrim visits.
Religious worshippers have been amazed by the newly restored red marble of the structure surrounding the burial place, known as the edicule.
Latest updates as Jesus' tomb is unveiled in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre ahead of Easter
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was among the attendees who stood in front of the edicule as hymns were sung during the reopening today.
In an address, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem said the restoration was ”not only a gift to our Holy Land but to the whole world."
"For the first time in over two centuries, this sacred edicule has been restored," he told the reopening ceremony.
The Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic denominations share custody of the important holy site in Jerusalem's Old City in Israel.
A woman prays next to The tomb of Jesus Christ
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The nearly $4 million renovation project was carried led by the church's denominations, whose disputes have held up restoration for more than 200 years.
Work was finally began last year after the church was found unsafe by Israeli authorities, who have controlled East Jerusalem since its capture in the 1967 Middle East war.
Antonia Moropoulou, a professor at the National Technical University of Athens, said the structure needed reinforcement and conservation, including work on drainage network for rainwater and sewage.
"Before this the monument was black," he told AFP at the holy site. "This is the actual colour of the monument, the colour of hope."
Christian clergyman stands inside the Edicule surrounding the Tomb of Jesus
The tomb of Jesus Christ with the rotunda is seen in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The renovation allowed the removal of a iron cage that the British placed around the stone tomb to keep the Edicule from falling apart in 1947.
Bonnie Burnham, from the World Monuments Fund (WMF) which helped to fund the renovation, said: “If the intervention hadn’t happened now, there is a very great risk that there could have been a collapse."
WMF trustee Mica Ertegun, who led the fundraising project, said: “I wanted people to come together to preserve this holy site which is so important to all religions. Its restoration is extraordinary.”