World

Western Christians mark Easter at Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre church

AFP-JIJI

Hundreds of pilgrims filed into Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Jesus’s resurrection, for Easter celebrations Sunday.

Catholics and Protestants marked Easter on Sunday, while Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrated Palm Sunday, with Easter Sunday coming for them on April 28.

The church, in the Old City of Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem, is built at the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

A recently renovated ornate shrine within the church surrounds the cave where Jesus is believed to have been interred.

Pilgrims from both faiths mingled there in a packed crowd.

“Too much of an unruly crowd is not so spiritual,” grumbled Donatella Buhler from Switzerland, there with her children.

Polish pilgrim Matthew Novak was more impressed.

“It’s really different,” he said. “You can feel the spirit of religion.”

Roman Catholic Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa celebrated Mass near the shrine and alluded to the pain and violence all around, and to the hope born of faith.

“Each of us brings his or her experience of Easter, of death and resurrection,” he said in his sermon.

“In the tragic situation we are living, it is this hope that comes to the rescue of a faith that is at odds every day with such great violence.”

He did not directly mention Sunday’s series of bomb attacks in Sri Lanka which included strikes on three churches, killing more than 200 people.

On Friday, Christians traced the route of the Stations of the Cross through the Old City, passing through the traditional sites of Jesus’s condemnation up to his crucifixion.