— Christians around the world are observing Good Friday, which marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Thousands of pilgrims packed the narrow alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City for the traditional Good Friday Procession. Some people hoisted big wooden crosses on their shoulders as they marched down the cobblestoned path known asVia Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrows.
The faithful retraced the footsteps of Jesus with the traditional devotion known as the stations of the Cross - reading scriptures, saying prayers and touching the sacred stones.
“I feel humbled before the Providence of God,” said John Thekkekara who came from Kerala, India. "This is believed to be the day on which Jesus was crucified. And it is the greatest experience in my life to be here on this day in Jerusalem.”
Pilgrims came from all over the world, from the Far East to the West. Mary Hull is from Georgia in the United States.
“To actually be here at the day of the crucifixion, wow, it just gives me that immediacy and that sense of gratitude for what He was willing to go through for me. I feel close to Jesus. I feel His presence,” she said.
Israeli soldiers armed with assault rifles guarded the route, as the procession wound up at the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site of Jesus’ crucifixion. It is there on Easter Sunday that Christians will celebrate the resurrection.
Catholic worshippers celebrate Good Friday inside the Our Lady of Aparecida Basilica in Aparecida do Norte, Sao Paulo, March 29, 2013.
People attend the 18th annual 'Way of the Cross Over the Brooklyn Bridge Ceremony' in New York, March 29, 2013.
A worker lights a cross before Pope Francis leads a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession during Good Friday celebrations in front of the Colosseum in Rome, March 29, 2013.
Pope Francis attends the Celebration of the Lord's Passion in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, March 29, 2013.
Penitents of the Jesus Yacente brotherhood take part in a Holy Week procession in Zamora, northern Spain, March 28, 2013.
David Carnell, center, plays the part of Jesus Christ during a "Journey to the Cross" procession while celebrating Good Friday in Sydney, Australia, March 29, 2013.
Tourists watch as penitents, bloodied after self-flagellation, walk during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in San Pedro Cutud, Pampanga province, Philippines, March 29, 2013.
Ruben Enaje, who was portrayed as Jesus Christ 27 times, as a nail is removed from his hand after being crucified during Good Friday rituals in San Pedro Cutud, Philippines, March 29, 2013.
An Indian Christian prays at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Good Friday in Hyderabad, India, March 29, 2013.
An Indonesian Christian devotee carries a bamboo cross as he walks with others during a Good Friday procession in Klaten, Central Java, Indonesia, March 29, 2013.
Catholics carry a cross at a street parade during a special Good Friday mass in Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 29, 2013.
Members of the Catholic clergy hold candles as they take part in a procession at the Washing of the Feet ceremony during Holy Week in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, March 28, 2013.
People take photos of a Jesus Christ statue at the end of a Holy Week mass at the Church of Divine Mercy in Panama City, Panama, March 28, 2013.
An indigenous woman walks at Canaan fair, which is part of Holy Week events in Ayacucho, Peru, March 28, 2013.
Catholics hold candles during the Way of the Cross re-enactment in a Holy Week procession, Luque, Paraguay, March 27, 2013.