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Thousands of Christians Converge on Jerusalem for Easter

  • Robert Berger

Members of the Catholic clergy hold candles as they take part in a procession at the end of Easter Mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City April 8, 2012.

Thousands of Christians have converged on the holy places in Jerusalem to celebrate Easter, the central event in their faith, marking their belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter in Jerusalem began with a sunrise service at the Garden Tomb, where the faithful sang hymns of the resurrection. The garden resets the scene of Jesus’ burial place based on biblical accounts. Facing an ancient, empty tomb carved into a rock, worshippers gave the Easter proclamation: The Lord is not here; He is risen!

Easter Mass was celebrated at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. A fragrant cloud of incense rose above the ancient stone tomb where tradition says Jesus rose from the dead.

Pilgrims came from all over the world, including Mike Ellard from California in the United States. He was moved by the worship.

“They began singing and it was just one of the most beautiful experiences. I would say it’s something you have to come and experience for yourself. It’s holy ground.”

Doug Aldrin is from the U.S. state of New Jersey.

“Well, it’s awe inspiring to be at the exact place, or the area at least, where Jesus walked and died and was buried and rose from the dead.”

Orthodox Christians are marking Palm Sunday, and will celebrate Easter next Sunday.