News

Christians Celebrate Easter in Jerusalem

Christians celebrated Easter Sunday in Jerusalem with services in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher and at other sites in the Holy Land. VOA's Jim Teeple reports that for the first time in four years, five different Christian sects celebrated Easter on the same day.

Jerusalem's Armenian Patriarch led a solemn procession of Armenian monks into the basilica of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was crucified and buried. The Armenian procession was just one of several that celebrated Easter Services in one of Christianity's holiest sites on Sunday.

This year for the first time in four years, five different Christian sects celebrated Easter at the same time.

Father Jerome Murphy-O'Conner is an Irish Dominican priest who has lived in Jerusalem for more than 50 years, teaching New Testament studies at Jerusalem's Ecole Biblique, a graduate school of theology.

Father Jerry, as he is known, says with the convergence of the Orthodox and the Western calendars this year, space is at a premium in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

"This year, it happens every five or six years, the Orthodox and the Western church all celebrate Easter on the same day," he said. "What it means in practice is that schedules have to be kept very tight. People cannot hang around after a service. They have to leave to make room for the others, and of course if they are in a state of spiritual exaltation and delay then there can be trouble unfortunately."

Unlike previous years, there were no clashes reported between followers of different Christian sects. Tobias Raschke, from Munich, who attended Easter Services at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, said he was impressed by how all the different sects and nationalities mixed together.

"We got up at three in the morning to hold a German Easter liturgy and now we have come to the Church to see what is happening here," said Raschke. "This is a crazy place because somehow now they have an Armenian service and then after one hour they have a Catholic service. It is fascinating to see the key to the church is in the hands of a Moslem and the Israeli police making sure that nothing happens. I think it is great the job Israel is doing here, making it safe so people can come here from different faiths and denominations and pray here and everything is safe."

With an easing of security fears this year, the convergence of the Western and Orthodox Christian calendars and weeklong Jewish Passover observances occurring at the same time, Jerusalem hotels reported full occupancy rates for the first time in years.

Father Jerome Murphy-O'Conner says with thousands of Jewish and Christian visitors in Jerusalem this year some will probably leave the city disappointed.

"The city is really crowded with pilgrims. The basic meaning of pilgrimage is to go pray at a place," he said. "You go because you believe somehow that prayer there is will be somehow easier or real because a holy person has sanctified it. People who have that unconscious expectation then find themselves in a huge crowd being pushed and shoved and they feel they are being robbed of space to recollect themselves."

Israeli security forces sealed off the occupied West Bank at the beginning of Jewish Passover observances last week, preventing most Palestinians, except those granted special visitors passes, from visiting Jerusalem.

Thousands of Palestinian Christians, mostly from the nearby city of Bethlehem are granted the passes but security restrictions exclude many, especially young men from visiting.

Israeli authorities say the restrictions are necessary to prevent suicide bombings against targets in Israel.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs