The Cross of Golgotha

Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem, 1996
In commemoration of Prof. Gustav Kühnel  † 2009

Without Gustav Kühnel’s vision, his infectious enthusiasm and his perseverance as well, there would be no Golgotha Crucifix as we know it now marking the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Michael Hammers

published 24.06.2014 

The Golgotha Cross, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem, 1996 - photo: Markus Bollen

Symbol of Light and Life

Shortly before Easter in 1996 at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher the Greek Patriarch Diodoros I of Jerusalem consecrated the new, monumental Golgotha Crucifix that had been donated by German Christians.

It was at the initiative of Prof. Gustav Kühnel to erect a new crucifix at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem that would not only be worthy of the singularity of the site, but that would also become a symbol of the efforts of unity in the community of Christian faith.

Gustav Kühnel passed away suddenly in 2009.  He was born in Romania in 1944, in 1966 he immigrated to Israel and studied art history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Later Professor Kühnel taught at Tel Aviv University and became the internationally-acclaimed expert in Byzantine and Crusader art in the Land of Israel.

Gustav Kühnel next to the Cross of Golgotha, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem, 1996 - photo: Markus BollenThe aesthetics and art history development of his iconographic concept originated from work he did with Prof. George Lavas of Athens.  These contents formed the basis for the Cross then designed by German sculptor Paul Nagel.  
Michael Hammers realized the project working with Paul Nagel’s son, Johannes Nagel.

This endeavor became the starting point for Michael Hammers’ international career as a creator, designer, a project developer and team builder.

Technical Data - The Crucifix is a total of 5.4 meters tall; its cross-beam is 3.3 meters long. The statically bearing inner stainless steel tube construction is faced with gilded sheets of premium steel, into which 155 mountain crystals in an inner aragonite cross have been set.  All told an area of about 5.5 m2 was covered in 24-karat leaf gilding.  2100 meters of fiber optic cable accessing two projectors illuminate the Crucifix at night from the inside out.  The Crucifix has a total weight of 1800 kg.