Holy of Holies

Holy of Holies

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The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle
Tabernacle
The Tabernacle , according to the Hebrew Torah/Old Testament, was the portable dwelling place for the divine presence from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan. Built to specifications revealed by God to Moses at Mount Sinai, it accompanied the Israelites...

 and later the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

 where the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

 was kept during the First Temple, which could be entered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

. The Ark of the Covenant is said to have contained the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

, which were believed to have been given by God to Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 and the Israelites at Mount Sinai
Biblical Mount Sinai
The Biblical Mount Sinai is the mountain at which the Book of Exodus states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God...

.

Hebrew idiom


The construction "Holy of Holies" is a literal translation of a Hebrew idiom which is intended to express a superlative
Superlative
In grammar, the superlative is the form of an adjective that indicates that the person or thing modified has the quality of the adjective to a degree greater than that of anything it is being compared to in a given context. English superlatives are typically formed with the suffix -est In...

. Similar constructions are found elsewhere:
  • servant of servants (Gen 9:25)
  • Holy of Holies (Ex 26:33)
  • Sabbath of sabbaths (Ex 31:15)
  • Heaven of heavens (Deut 10:14)
  • God of gods (Deut 10:17)
  • Lord of lords (Deut 10:17)
  • Vanity of vanities (Eccl 1:2)
  • Song of songs (Song of Songs 1:1)
  • Prince of princes (Dan. 8:25)

The debir of Solomon's Temple


A related term is the debir
Debir
A Biblical word, debir may refer to:noun* The debir , the inner-most part of the Holy of Holies in Solomon's Temple.Personal name...

transliterated in the Septuagint as dabir , which either means the back (i.e. western) part of the Sanctuary, or derives from the verb stem D-V-R, "to speak", justifying the translation in the Latin Vulgate as oraculum, from which the traditional English translation "oracle" (KJV, 1611) comes.

English Bible versions


In the Authorized King James Version, "Holy of Holies" is always translated as "Most Holy Place". This is in keeping with the intention of the Hebrew idiom to express the utmost degree of holiness. The King James Version of the Bible has been in existence for over four hundred years. For most of that time, it was a primary reference in much of the English speaking world for information about Judaism. Thus, the name "Most Holy Place" was used to refer to the "Holy of Holies" in many English documents.

Ancient Israel



Tabernacle


The Holy of Holies was hidden by a veil
Veil
A veil is an article of clothing, worn almost exclusively by women, that is intended to cover some part of the head or face.One view is that as a religious item, it is intended to show honor to an object or space...

, and no one was permitted to enter except the High Priest
Kohen Gadol
The High Priest was the chief religious official of Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem...

, and even he could only enter once a year on the Day of Atonement
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

, to offer the blood of sacrifice and incense
Incense
Incense is composed of aromatic biotic materials, which release fragrant smoke when burned. The term "incense" refers to the substance itself, rather than to the odor that it produces. It is used in religious ceremonies, ritual purification, aromatherapy, meditation, for creating a mood, and for...

 before the mercy seat. In the wilderness, on the day that the tabernacle was first raised up, the cloud of the Lord covered the tabernacle. There are other times that this was recorded, and instructions were given that the Lord would appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat, and at that time the priests should not enter into the tabernacle (Leviticus 16:2). According to the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, the Holy of Holies contained the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

 with representation of Cherub
Cherub
A cherub is a type of spiritual being mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and cited later on in the Christian biblical canons, usually associated with the presence of God...

im. Upon completion of the dedication of the Tabernacle, the Voice of God spoke to Moses "from between the Cherubim". (Numbers 7:89).

Solomon's Temple


The Holy of Holies, the most sacred site in traditional Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, is the inner sanctuary within the Tabernacle
Tabernacle
The Tabernacle , according to the Hebrew Torah/Old Testament, was the portable dwelling place for the divine presence from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan. Built to specifications revealed by God to Moses at Mount Sinai, it accompanied the Israelites...

 and Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

 when Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

 and the Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 were standing. The Holy of Holies was located in the westernmost end of the Temple building, being a perfect cube: 10 cubit
Cubit
The cubit is a traditional unit of length, based on the length of the forearm. Cubits of various lengths were employed in many parts of the world in Antiquity, in the Middle Ages and into Early Modern Times....

s by 10 cubits, by 10 cubits. The inside was in total darkness and contained the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

, gilded inside and out, in which was placed the Tablets of the Covenant
Tablets of stone
The Tablets of Stone, Stone Tablets, Tablets of Law, or Tablets of Testimony in the Bible, were the two pieces of special stone inscribed with the Ten Commandments when Moses ascended Mount Sinai as recorded in the Book of Exodus...

. According to Hebrews
Epistle to the Hebrews
The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the books in the New Testament. Its author is not known.The primary purpose of the Letter to the Hebrews is to exhort Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and his...

 9:4 in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, Aaron's rod
Aaron's rod
Aaron's rod refers to any of the staves carried by Moses' brother, Aaron, in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Bible tells how, along with Moses' rod, Aaron's rod was endowed with miraculous power during the Plagues of Egypt which preceded the Exodus...

 and a pot of manna
Manna
Manna or Manna wa Salwa , sometimes or archaically spelled mana, is the name of an edible substance that God provided for the Israelites during their travels in the desert according to the Bible.It was said to be sweet to the taste, like honey....

 were also in the ark. The Ark was covered with a gilded lid known as the "mercy seat
Mercy seat
According to the Bible, the mercy seat was an object which rested upon the Ark of the Covenant, and was connected with the rituals of Yom Kippur; the term also appears in the Pauline Epistles, and has a significance in Christian theology...

" for the Divine Presence
Shekhinah
Shekinah is the English spelling of a grammatically feminine Hebrew word that means the dwelling or settling, and is used to denote the dwelling or settling divine presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem.-Etymology:Shekinah is derived...

.

Second Temple


When the Temple was rebuilt after the Babylonian captivity
Babylonian captivity
The Babylonian captivity was the period in Jewish history during which the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon—conventionally 587–538 BCE....

, the Ark was no longer present in the Holy of Holies; instead, a portion of the floor was raised slightly to indicate the place where it had stood. Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 records that Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 profaned the Temple by insisting on entering the Holy of Holies.

Day of Atonement



The Holy of Holies was entered once a year by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement
Day of Atonement
Day of Atonement may refer to:*Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement* Day of Atonement , a national day established in 1995 by the Nation of Islam...

, to sprinkle the blood of sacrificial animals (a bull offered as atonement for the Priest and his household, and a goat offered as atonement for the people) and offer incense upon the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

 and the mercy seat
Mercy seat
According to the Bible, the mercy seat was an object which rested upon the Ark of the Covenant, and was connected with the rituals of Yom Kippur; the term also appears in the Pauline Epistles, and has a significance in Christian theology...

 which sat on top of the ark in the First Temple
Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

 (the Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 had no ark and the blood was sprinkled where the Ark would have been and the incense was left on the Foundation Stone). The animal was sacrificed on the Brazen Altar and the blood was carried into the most holy place. The golden censer
Censer
Censers are any type of vessels made for burning incense. These vessels vary greatly in size, form, and material of construction. They may consist of simple earthenware bowls or fire pots to intricately carved silver or gold vessels, small table top objects a few centimetres tall to as many as...

s were also found in the Most Holy Place.

Instructions for the Tabernacle


According to the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, in order that God
Names of God in Judaism
In Judaism, the name of God is more than a distinguishing title; it represents the Jewish conception of the divine nature, and of the relationship of God to the Jewish people and to the world. To demonstrate the sacredness of the names of God, and as a means of showing respect and reverence for...

 may dwell among the Israelites, God
Tetragrammaton
The term Tetragrammaton refers to the name of the God of Israel YHWH used in the Hebrew Bible.-Hebrew Bible:...

 gave Moses instructions for erecting a sanctuary
Sanctuary
A sanctuary is any place of safety. They may be categorized into human and non-human .- Religious sanctuary :A religious sanctuary can be a sacred place , or a consecrated area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar.- Sanctuary as a sacred place :#Sanctuary as a sacred place:#:In...

. The directions provide for:
  1. A wooden ark
    Ark of the Covenant
    The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

    , gilded
    Gold
    Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

     inside and outside, for the Tablets of the Covenant
    Tablets of stone
    The Tablets of Stone, Stone Tablets, Tablets of Law, or Tablets of Testimony in the Bible, were the two pieces of special stone inscribed with the Ten Commandments when Moses ascended Mount Sinai as recorded in the Book of Exodus...

    , with a cover similarly gilded as the "mercy seat
    Mercy seat
    According to the Bible, the mercy seat was an object which rested upon the Ark of the Covenant, and was connected with the rituals of Yom Kippur; the term also appears in the Pauline Epistles, and has a significance in Christian theology...

    " for the Divine Presence
    Shekhinah
    Shekinah is the English spelling of a grammatically feminine Hebrew word that means the dwelling or settling, and is used to denote the dwelling or settling divine presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem.-Etymology:Shekinah is derived...

    ;
  2. A gilt table for the "Table of Showbread
    Showbread
    Showbread , in the King James Version: shewbread, in a biblical or Jewish context, refers to the cakes or loaves of bread which were always present on a specially dedicated table, in the Temple in Jerusalem as an offering to God...

    ";
  3. A golden menorah, lampstand of 7 oil lamps for a light
    Light
    Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, and is responsible for the sense of sight. Visible light has wavelength in a range from about 380 nanometres to about 740 nm, with a frequency range of about 405 THz to 790 THz...

     never to be extinguished;
  4. The dwelling, including the curtains for the roof, the walls made of boards resting on silver
    Silver
    Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

     feet and held together by wood
    Wood
    Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

    en bolts
    Screw
    A screw, or bolt, is a type of fastener characterized by a helical ridge, known as an external thread or just thread, wrapped around a cylinder. Some screw threads are designed to mate with a complementary thread, known as an internal thread, often in the form of a nut or an object that has the...

    , the purple
    Purple
    Purple is a range of hues of color occurring between red and blue, and is classified as a secondary color as the colors are required to create the shade....

     curtain
    Curtain
    A curtain is a piece of cloth intended to block or obscure light, or drafts, or water in the case of a shower curtain. Curtains hung over a doorway are known as portières...

     veiling the Holy of Holies
    Holy of Holies
    The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was kept during the First Temple, which could be entered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur...

    , the table and candlestick
    Candlestick
    A candlestick, chamberstick, or candelabrum is a holder for one or more candles, used for illumination, rituals, or decorative purposes. The name 'candlestick' derives from the fact that it is usually tall and stick-shaped.Candlesticks are also called candle holders...

    , and the outer curtain;
  5. A sacrificial altar made of bronze
    Bronze
    Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

    d boards for its korban
    Korban
    The term offering as found in the Hebrew Bible in relation to the worship of Ancient Israel is mainly represented by the Hebrew noun korban whether for an animal or other offering...

    ;
  6. The outer court formed by pillars
    Column
    A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a vertical structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces...

     resting on bronze pedestal
    Pedestal
    Pedestal is a term generally applied to the support of a statue or a vase....

    s and connected by hooks and crossbar
    Crossbar
    - Structural engineering :* A primitive latch consisting of a post barring a door* The top tube of a bicycle frame* The horizontal member of many sports goals including those for hockey, association football, rugby league, rugby union and American football...

    s of silver, with embroidered curtains;
  7. Recipe and preparation of the oil
    Holy anointing oil
    The holy anointing oil , formed an integral part of the ordination of the priesthood and the high priest as well as in the consecration of the articles of the tabernacle and subsequent temples in Jerusalem...

     for the Lampstand.

In Rabbinical Judaism


Traditional Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 regards the location where the inner sanctuary was originally located, on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

 in Mount Moriah, as retaining some or all of its original sanctity for use in a future Third Temple. The exact location of the Kodesh Hakodashim is a subject of dispute.

Traditional Judaism regards the Holy of Holies as the place where the presence of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 dwells. The Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 gives detailed descriptions of Temple architecture and layout. According Babylonian Talmud Tractate Yoma
Yoma
Yoma is the fifth tractate of Seder Moed of the Mishnah and of the Talmud. It is concerned mainly with the laws of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, on which Jews atone for their sins from the previous year...

, the Kodesh Hakodashim is located in the center North-South but significantly to the West from an East-West perspective, with all the major courtyards and functional areas lying to its east.

The Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 supplies additional details, and describes the ritual performed by the High Priest. During the ritual, the High Priest would pronounce the Tetragrammaton
Tetragrammaton
The term Tetragrammaton refers to the name of the God of Israel YHWH used in the Hebrew Bible.-Hebrew Bible:...

, the only point according to traditional Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 that it was pronounced out loud. According to Jewish tradition, the people prostrated themselves fully on the ground when it was said. According to the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, the High Priest's face upon exit from the Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was kept during the First Temple, which could be entered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur...

 was radiant.

Synagogue architecture


Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 regards the holy ark, a place in a synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 where the Torah scrolls
Sefer Torah
A Sefer Torah of Torah” or “Torah scroll”) is a handwritten copy of the Torah or Pentateuch, the holiest book within Judaism. It must meet extremely strict standards of production. The Torah scroll is mainly used in the ritual of Torah reading during Jewish services...

 are kept, as a miniature Holy of Holies.

Modern location


At present it is conjectured that it is located under the Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The structure has been refurbished many times since its initial completion in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik...

 which stands on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

 in Jerusalem, though the exact location of the Most Holy Place is not known with absolute certainty. Most Orthodox Jews
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 today completely avoid climbing up to Temple Mount, to prevent them from accidentally stepping on the Most Holy Place or any sanctified areas. A few Orthodox Jewish authorities, following the opinion of the medieval scholar Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

, permit Jews to visit parts of the Temple Mount known not to be anywhere near any of the sanctified areas. Orthodox Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, who come especially from those groups associated with the Temple Institute
Temple Institute
The Temple Institute, known in Hebrew as Machon HaMikdash , is an organization in Israel focusing on the controversial endeavor of establishing the Third Temple. Its long-term aims are to build the third Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, on the site currently occupied by the Dome of the Rock, and...

 and its efforts to rebuild a Temple, seek to conform to the minimal requirements for coming near the Temple, such as immersing in a mikvah
Mikvah
Mikveh is a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism...

, not coming during or following menstruation
Niddah
Niddah is a Hebrew term describing a woman during menstruation, or a woman who has menstruated and not yet completed the associated requirement of immersion in a mikveh ....

 or immediately following a seminal emission
Semen
Semen is an organic fluid, also known as seminal fluid, that may contain spermatozoa. It is secreted by the gonads and other sexual organs of male or hermaphroditic animals and can fertilize female ova...

, not showing their back towards its presumed location, and other strictures. Despite equal protection of religious freedom guaranteed by the Supreme Court of Israel
Supreme Court of Israel
The Supreme Court is at the head of the court system and highest judicial instance in Israel. The Supreme Court sits in Jerusalem.The area of its jurisdiction is all of Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. A ruling of the Supreme Court is binding upon every court, other than the Supreme...

, Jewish visitors caught praying or bringing ritual objects are usually expelled by police.

Third Temple


Jewish tradition teaches that when the Third Temple is built, the actual Holy of Holies will be restored. Traditional Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 regards the location where the inner sanctuary was originally located, on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

 in Mount Moriah, as retaining some or all of its original sanctity for use in a future Third Temple. The exact location of the Holy of Holies is a subject of dispute.

New Testament


The Greek New Testament retains the pre-Christian Septuagint phrase "Holy of the Holies" hagios ton hagion without the definite article as "Holy of Holies" hagios hagion in Hebrews 9:3. This passed into the Latin Vulgate as Sanctum sanctorum.

Christian traditions


Certain branches of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, including the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church continue to have a tradition of a Holy of Holies which they regard as a most sacred site.

Eastern Orthodox Church



The Greek phrase refers to the Tabernacle or Temple. The name in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 for the Sanctuary of a Church is (Hieron Vema, see Bemah), in Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 it is called Сватий Олтар (Svatiy Oltar), an in Romanian it is called Sfântul Altar.

Ethiopian Orthodox Church


A cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

 term in Ge'ez
Ge'ez language
Ge'ez is an ancient South Semitic language that developed in the northern region of Ethiopia and southern Eritrea in the Horn of Africa...

 is found in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church: Qidduse Qiddusan, referring to the innermost sanctuary of an Orthodox Christian church, where the tabot
Tabot
Tabot , is a Ge'ez word referring to a replica of the Tablets of Law, onto which the Biblical Ten Commandments were inscribed, used in the practices of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Tabot can also refer to a replica of the Ark of the Covenant...

 is kept and only clergy may enter.

Roman Catholic Church


The Latin Vulgate
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

 Bible translates as Sanctum sanctorum
Sanctum sanctorum
The Latin phrase sanctum sanctorum is a Latin translation of the biblical term: "Holy of Holies" which generally refers in Latin texts to the Holiest place of the Tabernacle of Ancient Israel and later the Temples in Jerusalem, but also has some derivative use in application to imitations of the...

 (Ex 26:34). Reproducing in Latin the Hebrew construction, the expression is used as a superlative of the neuter adjective sanctum, to mean "a thing most holy". It is used by Roman Catholics to refer to holy objects beyond the Holy of Holies, particularly in religious feast day processions in Southern Germany.

The Vulgate
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

 also refers to the Holy of Holies with the plural form Sancta sanctorum (2 Chr 5:7), arguably a synecdoche referring to the holy objects hosted there. This form is also used more broadly in Catholic tradition with reference to sanctuaries other than the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

. A notable example is for the Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Palatio ad Sancta Sanctorum
Sancta Sanctorum
The Sancta Sanctorum chapel is a side chapel from the sancta scala of the Lateran Palace, Rome. The artwork of the Sancta Sanctorum in Rome was the basis for the art at Assisi...

, a chapel in the complex of St John Lateran in Rome.

Latter-day Saints



The Salt Lake Temple
Salt Lake Temple
The Salt Lake Temple is the largest and best-known of more than 130 temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the sixth temple built by the church, requiring 40 years to complete, and the fourth operating temple built since the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo,...

 of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) contains a Holy of Holies wherein the Church's President
President of the Church (Mormonism)
In the Latter Day Saint movement, the President of the Church is generally considered to be the highest office of the church. It was the office held by Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the movement, and the office assumed by many of Smith's claimed successors, such as Brigham Young, Joseph Smith III,...

—acting as the Presiding High Priest—enters to fulfill the relationship between the High Priest of Israel and God
God the Father
God the Father is a gendered title given to God in many monotheistic religions, particularly patriarchal, Abrahamic ones. In Judaism, God is called Father because he is the creator, life-giver, law-giver, and protector...

 in accordance with the LDS interpretation of the Book of Exodus  and Mormon religious texts.

See also

  • Solomon's Temple
    Solomon's Temple
    Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

    • Warren's Gate
      Warren's Gate
      Warren's Gate is an ancient entrance into the Temple platform in Jerusalem which lies about into the Western Wall Tunnel. In the Second Temple period, the gate led to a tunnel and staircase onto the Temple Mount....

      , in Jerusalem
  • Foundation Stone
  • Most Holy Place
    Most Holy Place
    This article provides a comprehensive list of significant religious sites and places of spiritual importance throughout the world.-Bahá'í faith:...

    , in various religions
  • Sanctum sanctorum
    Sanctum sanctorum
    The Latin phrase sanctum sanctorum is a Latin translation of the biblical term: "Holy of Holies" which generally refers in Latin texts to the Holiest place of the Tabernacle of Ancient Israel and later the Temples in Jerusalem, but also has some derivative use in application to imitations of the...

    , among German Catholics
  • Honden
    Honden
    The , is the most sacred building at a Shinto shrine, intended purely for the use of the enshrined kami, usually symbolized by a mirror or sometimes by a statue. The building is normally in the rear of the shrine and closed to the general public. In front of its usually stands the haiden, or...