Tens of Thousands of Christians from Around the World to Celebrate Easter in Israel
New York – April 10, 2014: Tens of thousands of Christians from around the world will arrive in Israel this month for Easter Holy Week events and services taking place in Jerusalem, April 13-20. Christians arriving in Israel for Easter will celebrate the Easter holiday with a week-long schedule of events in and around the Old City of Jerusalem, including:
On Palm Sunday (April 13), tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims will descend the Mount of Olives singing hymns, bearing palm fronds and reenacting Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem. A procession will take place at Bethpage Church on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, descending into the Garden of Gethsemane and ending at the Church of St. Anne’s in the Old City. A procession for Orthodox denominations will follow the Patriarch to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Maundy Thursday (April 17) commemorates the Last Supper and the last hours prior to Jesus’s arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. As part of the ceremony, a short Catholic prayer service will take place at the Cenacle, or Room of the Last Supper, while Anglican, Lutheran and Protestant denominations will hold a procession beginning at St. George’s Cathedral and ending at Gethsemane. There will be a candlelight procession from Gethsemane to Mount Zion.
On Good Friday (April 18), many travelers will take part in a procession bearing crosses led by the Patriarch, Custodian of the Holy Sites and other groups walking up the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Processions will take place in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and at various in the Old City, as well as at the Protestants’ Garden Tomb.
On Holy Saturday (April 19), Orthodox Christians will celebrate the Ceremony of the Holy Fire in and around the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
On Easter Sunday (April 20), the Latin Patriarch will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher with a multi-lingual reading of the Gospel of Resurrection and celebration of Easter Mass. Lutherans will celebrate the Easter Eucharist atop the Mount of Olives behind Augusta Victoria Church. Protestants will celebrate Easter at the Garden Tomb and several churches in Jerusalem. Orthodox denominations celebrate Easter Sunday from midnight on Saturday with a Patriarchal procession to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and celebrations of the Easter Divine Liturgy in Orthodox Old City churches. Visitors can also take part in the annual Easter Sunday services at the Garden Tomb, featuring English-language liturgies, including a sunrise service at 6:30AM and a second service at 9:30AM.
“We are more excited than ever to welcome Christians from around the world to arrive in the Holy Land for Easter celebrations and to walk in the footsteps of Jesus,” said Haim Gutin, Israel Commissioner for Tourism, North and South America. “We hope to inspire repeat visitors along with a new wave of Christian travelers to visit the Holy Land this year to experience first hand where the Scriptures come to life.”
A month after Easter, Pope Francis I will make his first visit to Israel as part of a pilgrimage tour to the Holy Land.
For more information about Easter celebrations in Israel, visit www.cicts.org and www.holyland-pilgrimage.org. For more information about travel to Israel, visit www.goisrael.com.