Why is there a staircase on the cornice of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for more than a century

For the second century, a wooden staircase attached to the right window of the facade of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem has stood in its place.

It rests on a cornice belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church and is set against a window in the possession of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Finding the stairs in its place means observing the agreement between the six Christian denominations that own the temple - not to move, repair or change anything in the temple without the consent of all six denominations.

The staircase is one of the symbols of discord in Christianity. Various parts of the temple are now owned by the Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and the Coptic Orthodox Church.

The exact date of the appearance of the stairs is unknown, but the custom to leave it in place, without removing it inside, appeared even before 1834 - the staircase is depicted in an engraving published in 1834. There is an assumption that the monks of the Armenian church used the cornice and stairs in order to get into their territory without paying the entrance fee to the temple, which was charged by the Ottoman authorities. On the left, at the entrance to the temple, there was a sofa on which there were Turkish guards. The entrance fee to the temple - the so-called kaffar - was up to 500 piastres.

The entrance to the temple has long been free, and the staircase still stands today, now as a symbol and one of the attractions of the temple.