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Calvary

CALVARY (kăl'va-rē, Lat. calvaria, skull). A place not far from the walls of Jerusalem where Christ was crucified and near which he was buried (Luke.23.33). The Latin calvaria is a rendering of the Greek kranion, “skull,” which renders the Hebrew Gulgoleth and the Aramaic Gulgulta. The common explanation is that the name was due to the cranial shape of the hill.

The exact site of Calvary is a matter of dispute. Two sites contend for acceptance, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is within the walls of the modern city; and the Green Hill, or Gordon’s Calvary, in which is Jeremiah’s Grotto, a few hundred feet NE of the Damascus Gate. The first is supported by ancient tradition; but the second, suggested for the first time in 1849, has much to be said in its favor. See also Golgotha.


The AV (KJV) rendering at Luke 23:33 of the Greek kranion, “skull.” The Vulgate has locus calvariae. The other gospels read “Golgotha” from the Aramaic gulgoltã. The name may have been derived from its being a place of execution, or because it was a skull- shaped hill, though no mention is made of a hill in the text. There is division of opinion whether the place is to be identified with the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or with the “Garden Tomb” also known as “Gordon's Calvary.”

See also

  • Golgotha