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Thousands of Pilgrims Join Good Friday Procession in Jerusalem

  • Robert Berger

Christians around the world are observing Good Friday, marking the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

It was a sea of Christian pilgrims in the narrow cobblestone alleyways of Jerusalem's Old City. The faithful came to the Via Dolorosa, or Way of Sorrows, from all over the world.

Carrying crosses, singing hymns and reading from the Gospels, they retraced the footsteps of Jesus to the 14 Stations of the Cross.

It was a big turnout, as Eastern Orthodox and Western Churches marked Good Friday on the same day for the first time in years.

"I just feel that I'm part of the spiritual world here, closer to that, by walking on these streets here in Jerusalem and visiting the sites here," said Spiro Polaris, who came from Baltimore, Maryland in the United States.

Sally Stanfield of Washington, D.C. said Jerusalem on Good Friday brings the Bible to life.

"It's very exciting to put the physical reality with what you've read all these years," she said. "And being here, you feel this is a prayed up place and it's very holy."

Israeli troops and anti-terror units guarded the route, but that did not bother Katy Fitzpatrick of Washington State.

"I expected it and, you know, it seems like they're not restricting any movement and people are free to come and go as they please, and everybody seems safe and that's the goal," she said.

The procession wound up at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site of the crucifixion. The church also contains an ancient stone tomb said to mark the place where Jesus was buried. It is there, on Easter Sunday, that Christians will celebrate the resurrection.