Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thousands Attend Easter Ritual at Holy Shrine in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (AP) - Thousands of worshippers crowded Christianity's holiest shrine to celebrate the Easter Week holy fire ritual, police said.

Orthodox Christian pilgrims crowd as they carry crosses into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, believed by many to be the site of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, during the Holy Friday procession in Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, April 25, 2008. Orthodox Christians are marking the solemn period of Easter.

Hundreds of police were deployed in and around the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on Saturday to control an estimated 10,000 pilgrims.
Greek Orthodox, Armenians and other Eastern rite Christians mark Easter on Sunday, several weeks after observances by other Christian denominations. The two groups adhere to different calendars.
On the day before Easter, Eastern rite churches mark the holy fire ritual.
Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried where the church now stands. The ritual is in honor of the belief that a holy fire appears spontaneously from Jesus' tomb as a message that he has not forgotten his followers.

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