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On 29 September 1009, Al-Hakim ordered a governor or Ramla called Yarukh to demolish the area around

Constantine's original Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Yarukh, along with his son Yusuf, Al-Husayn ibn Zahir al-Wazzan and Abu'l-Farawis Al-Dayf were among those who started destroying various buildings. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was said to be built on the site of the Calvary or Golgotha where Jesus was believed by Christians to have been crucified, over a rock-cut room that Helena and Macarius identified as the location of the resurrection.

The destruction was chronicled by Yahya ibn Sa'id of Antioch who noted it "cast down as far as the foundations" and the rock cut tomb was demolished in the attempt to "cause all trace of it to disappear". All sacred remains and holy relics were "completely annihilated". Iron hammers were ineffectual against the bedrock foundations of the tomb, so they resorted to burning it with fire.

When the news reached Europe, Christians were horrified and Pope Sergius IV sent a circular letter to all churches calling for a holy fight in the Middle East and expulsion of Muslims from the Holy land. The events would later be recalled by Pope Urban II in his preaching for the Crusade at Clermont. The church contained the true cross, which was hidden and recovered after the First Crusade. After the Battle of Hattin, Sultan Saladin captured the true cross, whereas today it is lost to time.

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