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Travelujah_ / Easter - Posts
Huddled in a hidden alley in East Jerusalem, hundreds of Christians from all corners of the world waited quietly in the crisp pre-dawn air to enter the idyllic Garden Tomb. They had come to commemorate the resurrection of Christ, and they would not remain quiet for long.
Having attended the Garden Tomb's long-running "SonRise Service" in the past, though admittedly not for a number of years, it was striking how much it has changed. While still a solemn and reverent gathering, there was an undeniable freshness, even a youthfulness that lent itself to a truly celebratory atmosphere.
The setting couldn't have been any more perfect. Garden Tomb Director Richard Meryon reiterated something he has said several times in the past: "Some believe this to be the authentic tomb of Christ. But the truth is that it doesn't matter, because the tomb is empty, and that is what we are here to celebrate." Meryon has stressed before that whether or not it be the authentic location, the Garden Tomb serves as a visual teaching tool to bring worshipers closer to the reality of what Christ did for them.
As the sun crested the nearby Mount of Olives, the Christians filling every corner of the Garden Tomb's peaceful sanctu
Christians visiting the Holy Land in the spring sometimes fail to appreciate the link between Passover and Easter: Jesus came to Jerusalem in April circa 34, making his triumphal entry on the Sunday of the last fateful week of his life, in order to offer a Passover sacrifice at Herod's magnificent newly-built Temple.
He celebrated the Passover seder feast that Thursday night, an event commonly referred to as the Last Supper. Returning with his apostles to their encampment at Gethsemane on the nearby Mount of Olives, he was arrested that evening after being betrayed by Judas.
On Friday, the holy day of Passover, Jesus was tried and then crucified. His corpse was hurriedly placed in a new sepulcher or family tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea near to the Skull Hill execution grounds (believed by some to be located adjacent to what is known as the Garden Bomb) to so as not to violate the Sabbath that began Friday shortly before sundown. Sunday morning it was discovered that the rolling stone sealing Jesus' tomb had been shifted, and the sepulcher was empty. Jesus had arisen.
When it came to actually specifying the date in which Easter would be celebrated annually, the Church fathers wanted the holiday to closely follow Passover, after all, that was when Christ died. But interestingly, in determining the date of Easter, Christianity did not make Easter's date dependent on Passover and, in fact there are years when Easter falls almost a full month in
“In two days, as you know, it will be the Passover Festival, and the Son of Man, will be handed over to be crucified.” (Matt. 26:2)
Those are the words Jesus said to his disciples two days before he was captured and sentenced to death. At the same time, chief priests and elders, who were against Jesus, were making plans how and when to arrest him.
You're about to embark on the trip of a lifetime-a Holy Land pilgrimage that will coincide with the celebration of Easter, a unique and truly exciting experience for any Christian. This year, record numbers of tourists are expected to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the holy city where the story of Easter takes place. As is customary, a host of very special activities are planned in celebration of the holiday. Father Juan Maria Solana, L.C, Charge of the Holy See, gave Travelujah his top 5 "must do" experiences for Christians celebrating Easter in the Holy Land (plus a couple of our own special favorites)
1. Go to an Easter Celebration in Jerusalem. There are numerous services in churches all over Jerusalem as well as in other major cities throughout the land. Make sure you visit at least one service during Holy Week.
2. Participate in the Palm Sunday and the Good Friday Processions. The Palm Sunday procession is held on Sunday April 1, 2012 at 2:30 in the afternoon and commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Approximately 5,000 to 10,000 people are expected to join this event. The procession is led by the Latin Patriarchate and begins at Bethphage and continues into the Old City entering thru the St. Stephen's Gate and ending at the Church of St. Anne. The Good Friday procession is led by Franciscan Friars and begins at 11:30 am in the Old City. Th
It is the season of Lent, the 40 days of fasting leading up to Easter, and Israel's Christian community is bustling with Easter preparations from the spiritual to the culinary.
Jerusalem, of course, is central to the Easter story. Within the next month, thousands of pilgrims will converge in Jerusalem, where Jesus died and rose again. The Catholic and Orthodox Easters coincide this year and come during the Jewish Passover. Catholics and Orthodox Christians use different calendars to determine the dates of their feasts. Easter is the most significant holiday for Christians in the Holy Land, even more of a draw than Christmas.