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.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora