Christians, Jews and Muslims Converge on Jerusalem

Orthodox and Christians Celebrate Easter Together

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JERUSALEM, APRIL 2, 2010 ( Jerusalem experienced a flux of pilgrims today as Christians, Jews and Muslims were present in the Israeli capital for religious observances.

Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem presided over the Good Friday liturgy of the Lord’s passion at the Holy Sepulcher in the morning, and later participated in a Via Crucis procession on the Via Dolorosa (the way of suffering).

He was accompanied by Cardinal John Patrick Foley, the grand knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, and by Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of Jerusalem.

Also in attendance were numerous faithful including priests, religious and a notable presence of Franciscan seminarians, reported the Latin Patriarchate.

Parishioners of the Holy Savior Parish, local religious and numerous pilgrims joined the procession on the Via Dolorosa, presided over by the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa.

The procession followed the path to Calvary, and made a final stop at the Holy Sepulcher, where the group prayed for the intentions of Benedict XVI.

In this year that Catholics and Orthodox celebrate Easter on the same date, various groups of Christians crowed the Via Dolorosa to make their way in procession along the Way of the Cross.

Also present in the walled Old City of Jerusalem were Jews who are celebrating Passover, and Muslims gathering for weekly Friday prayers.

The Associated Press reported that among the many pilgrims were some 2,500 Israeli policemen, and that no disturbances had been reported.

On Thursday, The Franciscans led a procession to the Cenacle where the Gospel narrative of the Last Supper was read, and a reenactment of the washing of the feet took place.

The Holy Thursday procession continued to Gethsemene, where Father Pizzaballa led a prayer vigil. After the service, a procession of torches descended to the Valley of Cedron until they reached the Sanctuary of St. Peter in

«Galli-cantu» means cock-crow, and the church is where tradition says Peter denied Jesus three times «before a cock crows.»

It is also the site of the Palace of Caiaphas, where Jesus was imprisoned during the night of Holy Thursday.

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