Restoration work completed on Jesus tomb site in Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A team of scientists and restorers has completed work on the purported site of Jesus’s tomb in Jerusalem’s Old City, and it will be re-opened to the public on Wednesday.

The group has worked for the past nine months at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and focused on the small structure above the burial place, known as the Edicule.

Many Christians believe Jesus’s body was buried at what became the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The structure needed reinforcement and conservation, including work on drainage network for rainwater and sewage, Antonia Moropoulou, a professor at the National Technical University of Athens, said on Monday. Moropoulou directed the work at the site.

The Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic denominations share custody of the church, where tensions often run high over control of its various sectors. Disputes between the dominations have held up restoration work for more than 200 years.

Work only began last year after the church was deemed unsafe by Israeli authorities, who have controlled East Jerusalem since its capture in the 1967 Middle East war.

Media reports said each denomination had contributed towards the project and Jordan’s King Abdullah also made a personal donation, with the work costing around $3.3 million.

Moropoulou said extensive work had been carried out on the masonry of the tomb.

Reporting by Ilan Rosenberg, writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Jeffrey Heller