INTRODUCTION: The Christian world has been celebrating Easter-one of the highlights of the annual religious ceremony.
INTRODUCTION: The Christian world has been celebrating Easter-one of the highlights of the annual religious ceremony. In Jerusalem, the birthplace of Christianity, thousands of pilgrims flocked to the city on Good Friday (8 April) to commemorate Christ's crucifixion. In the Vatican the day before, on Mount, Thursday Pope Paul washed the feet of 12 young seminarians-priests to be-in the traditional start to the Easter festivities.
SYNOPSIS: In Jerusalem, many of the pilgrims stumbled under the weight of heavy crosses as they walked along the ancient cobbled streets to Mount Calvary, where Christ himself died on a cross. The procession wound its way through the streets of the Old City, following the route Christ was supposed to have taken.
Their final destination was the church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is believed that this was the spot where Christ was buried after his death, and where he rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. A High Mass was celebrated by the Latin Patriarch, Monsignor Guiseppe Giacomo Beltritti. A similar service is held every Easter to commemorate Christ's death and resurrection.
Israeli government officials say that more than 100,000 tourists arrived for the festivities, a record number.
Meanwhile, the Pope celebrated mass in his role as the Bishop of Rome at the Basilica of St John in Lateran. He was reported to be tired and walking with some difficulty as he conducted the Maundy Thursday mass. Only two weeks earlier he was suffering from influenza, and cancelled all his engagements.
The 79-year-old Pontiff celebrated the traditional ceremony of humility, which involves washing and kissing the feet of 12 seminarians. It commemorates Christ's action in washing the feet of his 12 disciples before the Last Supper.