UNASSUMING ENTRANCE. Those walking the Via Dolorosa (the traditional route Jesus walked to the cross) end at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. To enter, they first pass through a courtyard and then the arched entryway next to the church’s bell tower. If they were to look up as they entered, they might notice a ladder beneath the right window. This ladder has been there since 1728. Because the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian Apostolic, Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, and Ethiopian Orthodox denominations share custody of the church, it is difficult to come to agreements about church modifications, including repairs. In 1787, Ottoman Sultan Osman III decreed that no changes could be made to the church unless all the denominations agreed. This initiated the status quo understanding still in place today. Because the denominations cannot agree about the ladder’s removal, it has stood there for nearly 300 years. Yet, thanks to artistic license, the ladder is absent from a print drawn by W.H. Bartlett and engraved by E. Challis, which shows the church’s entry in 1847 (as seen here).