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    » 03/26/2013, 00.00


    Jerusalem, 35 thousand pray for peace in the Holy Land

    Thousands from all over the world in procession from the Mount of Olives to the Old City of Jerusalem. For the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Palm Sunday is the rejection of all violence. Number of pilgrims doubled compared to 2012.

    Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - " Today, our procession is one of salvation, the Lord himself is our salvation. Jesus, the King of Peace, came to Jerusalem, a city that has never known peace", said Msgr. Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem pointing out the significance of Palm Sunday celebrated this year in front of over 35 thousand faithful from all over the world. In his homily, the prelate encouraged all present to pray for the Holy Land so that this feast may represent "the rejection of all violence" and invited everyone to "let the Lord enter our hearts and our lives, to heal our wounds and our divisions, to strengthen us in our weakness and give us the courage to persevere in the midst of trials."

    Last year, the Israeli police counted 15,000 people. This year, 35,000 olive branches and woven palms were displayed and raised on the procession from Bethphage through the Mount of Olives to the Old City of Jerusalem, with an imposing security system both in the air and on the ground. Despite the shift of the Easter dates in the Diocese and the number of permits (6,000 this year - only half compared to last year) issued to Palestinians by the Israeli authorities,  the crowd was dense.  Banners were held high by some parishioners, with the names of the Latin Patriarchate Parishes: Aboud, Ramallah, Jifna, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, Nablus.

    From the Church of Bethphage (where Jesus mounted the donkey), the faithful began marching in droves and with joy to cries of "Hosanna."  The sun shone brightly upon this show of music and color; an international dance of drums, guitars, languages and fervor, with many wearing native Palestinian clothing.

    The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal walked at the back of the procession with the Franciscans and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, alongside some heads of the other Catholic Churches of the Holy Land and the Apostolic Nuncio to Israel, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto who is also the Apostolic Delegate for the Palestinian Territories.

    On Palm Sunday morning, the Patriarch presided over the Procession with Palms and the Pontifical Mass at the Altar of St. Mary Magdalene at the Holy Sepulchre. The previous night, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, celebrated the Vigil of Palm Sunday in the Chapel of the Apparition and the Holy Mass at Calvary.  

    This year only the Catholic areas of Bethlehem and Jerusalem celebrate Easter according to the Gregorian calendar. Most of the Catholic communities in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Cyprus in fact follow the Julian calendar and begin Holy Week with the Orthodox Christians in the first week of May. The unification of the dates of Easter was announced on 15 October 2012 by the bishops of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, where it was established that within two years all the Catholics of the diocese of the Latin Rite and the various Eastern rites will celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar. (C. L.)

    Domenica delle Palme

    Domenica delle Palme 2

    Domenica delle Palme 5

    Domenica delle Palme 6


    Domenica delle Palme 7

    Domenica delle Palme 8

    Domenica delle Palme 9

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    See also

    Jerusalem: the Cross breaks down the wall of fear
    A talk with Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custodian of the Holy Land.

    26/03/2008 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Custos of the Holy Land: a "normal" Easter, overflowing with pilgrims
    At least 150,000 faithful from all over the world visited Jerusalem and the holy sites in these days, going to comfort the local Christian communities, of Palestinian and Jewish origin. Easter is the hope for all the unresolved problems in the land of Jesus. Six adults of Russian origin baptised.

    05/04/2012 LAOS
    Laotian Christians challenge official ban and celebrate Holy Week
    Members of two Evangelical communities in the southern province of Savannakhet hold services outside of their confiscated churches. They plan to break the padlocks on their churches unless they are removed. The authorities had closed the buildings down, alleging building permit irregularities.

    21/03/2005 LEBANON
    Palm Sunday, when hope lies with the young
    Despite storms Lebanon won't die, says Maronite Bishop of Beirut.

    21/04/2011 HOLY LAND
    The Churches of the Holy Land: reform must lead to freedom for religious minorities
    In their Easter message the leaders of Christian churches in the Holy Land speak of developments in Arab countries, and call for "a modern civil society in which freedom of expression, freedom of religion and human rights, including rights of those who are considered a minority are respected. " Peace, they say, "can not be purchased at the price of silence and submission to corruption and injustice."

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