Orthodox Christians celebrate Good Friday in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — Eastern Orthodox Christian pilgrims marched Friday through the stone alleyways of Jerusalem’s Old City to commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion some 2,000 years ago.

Roman Catholics and Protestants marked Good Friday last week, according to the Gregorian calendar. Eastern Orthodox churches follow the older, Julian calendar, and they are marking the holy day this week.

Pilgrims are visiting from Cyprus, Greece, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine and other eastern European countries. About 2,500 Coptic Orthodox Christians from Egypt are also in the Holy Land this year, according to figures from Israel’s Interior Ministry. For decades, their recently deceased pope prevented pilgrimages to the Holy Land to protest Israeli policies toward Palestinians.

The pilgrims attended services at their respective churches, then snaked through the labyrinthine Old City in groups led by monks and clerics, some robed in black and others wearing white cotton. They sang prayers and carried large olive wood crosses carved with figurines of a suffering Jesus on their way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built on the site believed to be Jesus’ tomb.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews were also among the mix of faithful, the men wearing round fur hats and prayer shawls to mark the last day of Passover. They made their way among the throngs of Christian pilgrims to synagogues and the Western Wall, a Jewish holy site nearby.

The Orthodox Christian Holy Week reaches a climax today, when worshippers will crowd around the inner sanctum in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, waiting for clergymen to emerge holding a large flame believed to be miraculously lit.

The Holy Fire ceremony has been practiced for at least the last 1,200 years on the day before Easter, which marks the resurrection of Jesus.

More in Local News

Majority of Marysville City Council seats are contested

The most closely watched race is between Mark James and Donna Wright.

500 tires go up in flames at a store south of Everett

There were no injuries. And it was nowhere near as bad as that months-long tire fire in 1984.

Inclusion super important to Monroe High senior

Sarah Reeves worked to make homecoming more representative of the student population.

A pot deal between teens leaves them injured, facing charges

Police found out about the incident when both ended up at the same hospital that night.

Funds up for council vote would aid conservation district

District stands to receive an extra $1 million each year, if the County Council gives its approval.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Lake Stevens man injured by 50-foot fall near Leavenworth

The rescuers had to tie in to keep from falling due to the steep rugged terrain.

Mill Creek hires Gina Hortillosa as public works director

Hortillosa will be responsible for creating strategic infrastructure plans to promote economic growth.

Most Read