Palm Branches, witnesses of Christian joy
JERUSALEM – Entering Holy Week, many Christians of the Diocese of Jerusalem and from around the world participated in the traditional Palm Sunday procession. The event is one of the few large public Christian events of the Holy City.
It is uncommon for the authorities to block the routes of trams and traffic that run along the walls of the Old City from the Lion’s Gate to New Gate. But yet it happens once a year, during the Palm Sunday procession, led by the Christian scouts. Leaving Bethphage and proceeding to the Basilica of St. Anne, the procession participants were fewer this year. According to sources, there were more than 15,000 people. The sharp decline in the number of pilgrimages, a consequence of the summer’s war in Gaza and clashes in Jerusalem, is probably one of the main factors of this downsizing.
This did not stop diocesan parishes that came from a number of territories, having obtained some of the many permits issued, to celebrate a great festival of Savior’s entrance into Jerusalem. Songs, dances, prayers… The participating Christians were happy to come together to witness their faith. The joy was palpable. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem recalled in a speech that “our peoples in the Holy Land and the Middle East live an endless Golgotha, as if our cross began and does not cease.” Despite this, the Christian community of Jerusalem did not hide its joy and its faith, under the interesting looks and approvals of Muslim families intrigued by this big parade.
As if in answer to this joy, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, concluded the procession with these words: So go back to our homes and our parishes, full of hope and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ risen from the dead, who said “Do not be afraid, I am with you.”
Click on the picture to see the album – LPJ pictures
In the morning, the solemnity of Holy Week began with the Palm Sunday procession around the Aedicule and the Mass at the Holy Sepulchre, celebrated by Patriarch Twal. St. Saviour parish in Jerusalem also celebrated the feast in its church crowded with children and their parents. In other parishes of the diocese, some people will wait until next week to wave the blessed palm branches at the same time as the Orthodox celebrate, one week later this year. In Jerusalem, the existence of Status Quo prevents any change of dates and times for ceremonial celebrations.
Click on the picture to see the album – MAB pictures
Pierre Loup de Raucourt