Christians mark Good Friday in the Holy Land

Apr 6, 2012, 5:38 PM

Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) – Roman Catholics and Protestants in the Holy Land commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in prayers and processions on Friday through Jerusalem’s Old City.

In the town of Beit Jala, adjacent to Bethlehem, Palestinian Catholics re-enacted Jesus’ stations of the cross in their olive groves and vineyards. Father Ibrahim Shomali led the Good Friday procession in Arabic, wearing a white tunic and purple clerical shawl. Dozens of believers followed him, bearing Palestinian flags and olivewood crosses.

Several dozen Palestinian Christians conducted prayers on their farmland this year, which sits between two Israeli settlements and along the route of Israel’s planned separation barrier, said Xavier Abueid, a Palestinian adviser, who participated in the prayers there.

The prayers on the farms were conducted to highlight and protest what Palestinians say is Israel’s increasing restrictions on Palestinians accessing their lands, particularly in areas abutting the Jewish state and Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Palestinian grievances are also echoed by prominent rights groups working in Israel.

Israel’s government says it needs to prevent Palestinian access to certain land to prevent clashes in areas where there are poor relations with Jewish settlers. In other places, Israel says it needs the land to build its separation barrier to keep out Palestinian attackers.

For the Roman Catholic and Protestant congregations that observe the new, Gregorian calendar, Good Friday this year coincides with the Jewish Passover holiday, which started at sundown. Orthodox Christians, who follow the old, Julian calendar, will mark Easter a week later.

According to the Gospels, Jesus ate his last supper _ a Passover meal _ hours before he was betrayed.

In Jerusalem on Friday, Christian pilgrims filled the cobblestone alleyways of the Old City along the Via Dolorosa, Latin for the “Way of Suffering.” They followed his 14 stations, ending at the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Tradition says the church was built on the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

There are about 110,000 Arab Christians in the Holy land, along with thousands of Christian foreign workers, asylum seekers, and Russian-speaking immigrants.

Christians believe Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and resurrected on Easter Sunday.

In preparation for Passover eve, Israel’s army announced a general closure on the West Bank. That means no Palestinians can enter Israel except those needing medical care. The ban will be lifted on Saturday at midnight. It does not apply to the hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews who live in the West Bank.

Israel routinely closes the West Bank during Jewish holidays when crowds in synagogues and other public places are most vulnerable to potential attacks by Palestinian militants.

A decade ago, 29 people were killed on Passover eve as they sat down to a traditional festive meal at a hotel in the Israeli resort of Netanya.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
24 days ago
(Instagram photo/@Clayton.Wolfe)...
Wills Rice

Arizona realtor announces new listing on ‘the top-floor’ of Mount Everest

Arizona realtor Clayton Wolfe scaled the treacherous 29,035-foot heights of Mount Everest in Nepal and announced a new listing at the summit.
25 days ago
(Photo by: Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle arrested for money laundering charges

“Tiger King” star “Doc” Antle was arrested by the FBI and expected to appear in court Monday to face federal money laundering charges.
25 days ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Israel for talks with political and business leaders

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders of the Middle Eastern country.
1 month ago
A man rides a bicycle in front of a building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of ...
Associated Press

Russia takes steps to bolster army, tighten grip on Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order Wednesday to fast track Russian citizenship for residents of parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army. Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to […]
1 month ago
Follow @KTAR923...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Christians mark Good Friday in the Holy Land