The cleric, thought to be an Armenian, was found at the bottom of a flight of stairs and appears to have fallen, a police spokesman told AFP.
“The priest fell down and passed away,” Micky Rosenfeld said. “His death was not the result of a criminal act.”
The Holy Sepulchre, considered by most Christians to be their faith’s holiest site, is uneasily shared by six denominations, including Greek Orthodox, Armenians and Roman Catholics.
“The Armenians are in a state of shock,” said Father Fergus Clarke, the senior Franciscan monk at the church, who spoke with the dead man’s colleagues shortly after the incident.
“They tried to revive him but unfortunately it was too late,” he said.