How Christians In Jerusalem Celebrate Easter

March 24, 2016 by Open Doors in

How Christians in Jerusalem Experience Easter

There is no place like Jerusalem during Easter and Pesach. Believers celebrate in their own way which is determined by their traditions and calendars. Catholic and Protestant churches following the Gregorian calendar have their feast on March 27th, while Orthodox churches celebrate on May 1st according to the Julian calendar.

Easter is preceded by a period of fasting. On Maundy Thursday, traditional churches open their doors for the ceremony of the washing of feet. Good Friday, or Great Friday as some Christians say, is a day of prayer and processions through Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa. Pilgrims and local Christians walk to the centuries-old Church of the Holy Sepulcher, also called the Church of the Resurrection.

On Holy Saturday, Christians belonging to Orthodox churches gather in and around the Holy Sepulcher for the ceremony of the Holy Fire. According to tradition, a fire forms in the Holy Tomb from which candles are lit.

The Syrian Orthodox Christians have their own chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where visitors can see ancient burial caves from the First Century. In addition, they pray in their Church of St. Mark. Protestant and Evangelical Christians meet in their own churches and in the beautiful Garden Tomb.

Messianic Jews keep the Jewish calendar. They believe that Jesus, or Yeshua in Hebrew, is the Messiah. Like other Jews, they celebrate Pesach from April 23rd to 29th. The holiday is preceded by the liturgical Seder meal on April 22nd. During the gathering the participants read the Haggadah, the story about the Exodus from Egypt.

This Easter weekend, Christians around the world give thanks to God for eternal life, purchased by Jesus on the cross and sealed by His resurrection. He is risen indeed!

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