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Jerusalem hums with believers

CHRISTIANS prayed at an ancient church and sang in a garden outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City as they marked Easter Sunday in the city where they believe Jesus was crucified and resurrected.

The city buzzed with religious activity. Orthodox Christians, who observe a different calendar, marked Palm Sunday, and thousands of Jews celebrating the Passover festival thronged a plaza opposite the Western Wall for a traditional blessing.

Roman Catholics held Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, traditionally believed to mark the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and then resurrected on Easter Sunday. Brown-robed friars marched into the church to the sound of bagpipes, followed by clergymen in purple capes and others bearing crosses.

"Words aren't adequate to express how moving it is to be in this place at this time," said Mark Walsh, 48, an auto shop owner from Texas, the United States.

Another group of pilgrims chose to mark Easter Sunday outside the walls of the Old City at the Garden Tomb, which some Protestants sanctify as an alternative site for the last events of Jesus' life. Protestants from the United States, the Philippines and elsewhere gathered there, swaying and singing along with a Christian rock band.

Also yesterday morning, Orthodox priests in black robes and beards and carrying palm fronds filed into the Holy Sepulcher for their Palm Sunday ceremony. The Holy Sepulcher is shared by Catholic, Orthodox and Armenian Christians, along with several smaller sects.

Palm Sunday marks the day Jesus entered Jerusalem and was greeted by cheering crowds with palm fronds.


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