The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem
Christians the world over are celebrating Holy Week. While it is celebrated worldwide, this is a special time for pilgrims to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. What a wonderful time to walk in the steps of Jesus and remember the events leading up to Easter. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher plays many important roles during this time.
There is something very special about experiencing Holy Week in Jerusalem. Celebrate the most amazing events in the history of the life of Jesus. What an unforgettable experience for people of faith. What a blessing it is for Christians to walk in the very steps of Jesus, during Holy Week.
Palm Sunday is celebrated the Sunday before Easter as the day that Jesus is said to have entered into the old walled city from the Mount of Olives riding on a donkey. Many of the local churches have special services and Masses on this day. Morning Mass is held at 8 a.m. at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Path to the Eastern gate in Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
Many of the events in the Old City center around this path, as Christians stop and remember that their Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ road upon this very path as He entered the city. There is the traditional palm procession held here in the afternoon on Palm Sunday.
Maundy Thursday is the day that Christians stop and join together in several locations within the Old City of Jerusalem. This is the day that the events surrounding the Last Supper are remembered. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher will hold a special Eucharist ceremony and other denominations will usually have a foot-washing ceremony and the Lord’s Supper.
Christians the world over stop and remember this night. This was the night that Jesus was betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Special services are also held in the garden.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem
On Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at 8 a.m. by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. There will be other churches doing special services and masses also during the morning hours throughout the city.
Later in the afternoon, the Franciscans make a traditional walk to the Upper Room on Mount Zion.
The Garden Of Gethsemane
In the evening, beginning at 9 p.m., pilgrims and local Christian Groups come to the garden to watch with Jesus for one hour. This is held in the Garden of Gethsemane and followed by a procession with candlelight to the place it is believed that Jesus spent the night before He was crucified. This is held at the church of St. Peter in the Old City.
Climbing steps to Calvary
Climbing the steps to Calvary at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem is really thought-provoking. On Good Friday, at 8 a.m., the Lord’s Passion and crucifixion will be remembered at Calvary, When you ascend to the top of the stairs, you will find yourself at the very spot believed to be Calvary. It was here that Jesus gave up His life.
The Horror Of Crucifixion
This was the nail that was driven through the ankle bone of those to be crucified. This nail was discovered in Jerusalem and dates back to the 1st Century A.D.
The Rock Of Golgotha Where Jesus Was Crucified
“The light shines in the darkness” on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Walking The Via Dolorosa
After the Lord’s Passion at Calvary, the Stations of the Cross will help you to remember each step that Jesus took that last day on earth. The walk on the Via Dolorosa begins at 11:30 a.m. and is led by the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land. This is a quiet walk on the Via Dolorosa as Jesus also made that walk on His way to Calvary, carrying His cross. It is a time to remember and to relive each step of that last day. At 3:00 pm another walk is led by local priests. It will start at the Monastery of the Flagellation which is near the entrance to the Lion’s Gate. Having a guide will help you to navigate this twisty walk along the Via Dolorosa.
Believed By Many To Be The Tomb Where They Laid Jesus
Later on Good Friday, at 8:10 p.m., a funeral will be held for Jesus the Christ. The funeral will be celebrated at the Holy Sepulchre. This is an event that is unique to the Christian Churches of Jerusalem. During this time there will be an reenacting of the deposition of the body of Jesus into the tomb.
The Easter Vigil
One of the most anticipated services is the great Easter Vigil, which is the climax of the week of remembering. This service is held on Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. in the Basilica of the Resurrection, followed by the solemn entry of the Patriarch of Jerusalem at 3:30 p.m. The recitation of vespers will begin at 6 p.m.
This concludes the Holy Week services until the Resurrection of Jesus is remembered on Easter morning. While you are celebrating these events, remember, that you are also in Israel at the time the Jews are celebrating the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Many restaurants will be closed, as well as markets, fast food restaurants, etc. It is wise to make sure that you are aware when things will be open and closed for feast days and Sabbaths.
The Christians in Jerusalem welcome you to join them, as they walk in the steps that Jesus walked.