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Pilgrims Celebrate Easter in Jerusalem

A priest kisses a cross near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday during Holy Week in Jerusalem's Old City, Mar. 29, 2013.
Christians are celebrating Easter, commemorating the resurrection of their messiah, Jesus.

Jerusalem awoke to hymns of the resurrection as the faithful gathered for an Easter sunrise service at the Garden Tomb, a site popularized in 19th century as Jesus’ burial place. A sign on the podium said, “Jesus is alive.”

Nearby, in Jerusalem’s walled Old City, Easter Mass was celebrated at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Priests and monks in festive robes chanted the Easter liturgy in front of the ancient stone tomb where tradition says Jesus rose from the dead. Fragrant incense wafted into a golden rotunda, symbolizing the glory of the resurrection.

Pilgrims came from all over the world, including Kiyaramo Timievi of Bayelsa State, Nigeria.

“Jerusalem is a wonderful place; I’ve read much about Jerusalem in the Bible. And I’m so happy. It’s a privilege that what I read in history, I can see it myself with my eyes,” said Timievi.

Kenneth Milgram is from Alabama in the United States. He said, “It’s absolutely amazing in that [I’ve] been reading the Scriptures since I was a child but they didn’t come alive till I came here. The feelings of warmth have just washed over me in realizing that this is where my Christ was.”

Jerusalem’s Old City was a model of coexistence as Christians mixed with Jewish pilgrims celebrating the week-long biblical Feast of Passover, and Palestinian Muslim shopkeepers did a brisk business. It was a peaceful Easter in the Holy Land.