How Christians celebrated Holy Week amid war in the Middle East

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Holy Week was celebrated very differently this year in the Holy Land and in Gaza due to the ongoing conflict.

In light of the war, many Easter celebrations were limited to Masses and prayers. The city of Jerusalem was unusually empty during what Christians call the holiest week of the year. Palestinian Christians faced unprecedented heavy restrictions for entering the city to celebrate the different services.

On Holy Thursday, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, celebrated the Mass of the Lord's Supper in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. He washed the feet of 6 seminarians and 6 Franciscan friars.

In the Holy Land, the Easter Vigil is always celebrated in the morning of Holy Saturday due to the rules guiding the different communities using the Basilica. And it was noticeably less full than previous years.

And in Gaza, at the only Catholic parish in the region, only about 100 Christians gathered to celebrate a more solemn Vigil as violence raged on around them.

To mark Easter Sunday, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem sent a special message to those living in the midst of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

We always pray for you. We try to support you as much as we can, as you know. But in this moment, we want to celebrate, not only our sorrow, not only what all you are suffering more than many others, but we want to express our joy to belong to Jesus.

The Latin Patriarch also used the video to encourage everyone in Gaza not to lose their faith and to remind them of his ongoing prayers.


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