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Jerusalem: Theater of Magnificence, Destruction, and Universal Redemption

Because it has been chosen as the theater of universal redemption, Jerusalem has an infinitely more varied fate than any other city in the world. Events seem to take place there with acute intensity, alternating periods of magnificence with others of massacre.

Splendor and annihilation: such seems to be the historical breath of this city. Adorned with magnificent palaces by the kings of Judah, Jerusalem was regarded as a marvel of architecture compared to other cities of the universe. However, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, destroyed the city from top to bottom. For seventy years, writes Saint Jerome, “one could not see a bird fly there.”

Then Jesus Christ took it as a theater for the redemption of men. Sometime before his death, Jerusalem was adorned like a bride on her wedding day. With the Messiah’s execution, she suddenly became the center of the world and pivot of Christendom.

Thirty-eight years after the death of Christ, Titus, Roman general, imprisoned in the city — as in a prison — the Jews who had come to celebrate Passover. A cruel fate awaited those who, driven by hunger during the siege, were surprised seeking plants around the city: Titus had them crucified; days did not pass until five hundred were taken, and soon wood was lacking to the executioners for these immolations. The city was finally destroyed, and Titus celebrated the funeral of Jerusalem in Rome.

This did not prevent the city from experiencing a rebirth, and from being later taken by the Saracens, and later by the crusaders in 1099. The shedding of blood was such that no one could make a step without being covered with blood from head to toe.

Thus, the impossibility of the annihilation of Jerusalem, as of its absolute domination, condemns it to perpetuate itself in fragility. Amnesic princes can send her rich embassies: these cannot win the monopoly of salvation. Redemption being for everyone, Jerusalem can only remain a universal city.

This piece was written by Thomas Flichy de La Neuville, Professor at Saint-Cyr’s military academy, and Research Professor at IWP.