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Pilgrims Celebrate Easter Sunday in Jerusalem

Christians around the world are celebrating Easter, marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Robert Berger spent the day among pilgrims in Jerusalem, and filed this VOA report.

Thousands of Christians converged on the holy places in Jerusalem to celebrate Easter, beginning at the crack of dawn.

It's a chilly Easter sunrise here at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, but pilgrims have come out to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The site is said to resemble the place where Jesus was buried. Facing an empty ancient tomb from biblical times, the worshippers proclaimed: the Lord is not here, He is risen.

Mr. Wright came all the way from Nashville, Tennessee in the United States. He told VOA that walking in the footsteps of Jesus on Easter is an experience of faith.

"I'm just sitting down and kind of letting it soak in. There's so much history here, and to imagine what happened and how important it is, it's a little overwhelming," Wright says.

The main Easter celebration was a solemn liturgy at one of the holiest places in Christianity.

A fragrant cloud of incense is rising above the ancient stone tomb here in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, believed to be the site of Jesus' resurrection. Priests in white robes are celebrating Easter mass surrounded by pilgrims from around the world. The church is packed this year-unlike in previous years when Israel-Palestinian violence scared pilgrims away.

Israeli police and soldiers patrolled the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem's Old City, but the atmosphere was calm. Jonathan Fambrough is from the U.S. city of Atlanta.

"There's really so much security, there is so much, in my feeling, my experience, safety," Fambrough says. "And, you know, I feel just as at home here as I would in New York City. And I think it's just absolutely silly that people don't come here because of security."

So pilgrims enjoyed a peaceful Easter in the turbulent Middle East.