Experiencing Easter in the Holy Land is, for Christians, one of the most moving and special times to visit. Believers coming from all corners of the globe at this time make their pilgrimage to Israel include spending the holiest period of the year walking in Jesus’s footsteps.
At the center of it all is the 5,000-year-old city of Jerusalem. Most events in the city take place along the Via Dolorosa-known as ‘the way of the suffering’-the path that Jesus walked, carrying His cross, on the way to His crucifixion at what is now the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the shrine that tradition holds houses the tomb in which Jesus’ body is believed to have been interred after the crucifixion and from where He miraculously rose to heaven. Since the 4th century A.D., Catholic and Orthodox Christians alike have assembled together in celebration to mark this glorious and festive time.
Easter Week 2017-Ceremonies & Events:
As Easter approaches, Jerusalem begins to fill up with pilgrims. This year, Easter Sunday falls on April 16th. Special services will take place during the week leading up to the holiday, staring on Palm Sunday-April 9th and continuing until Easter.
Palm Sunday-April 9th
The Christian feast of Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem two thousand years ago. Then, according to the New Testament, His followers threw palm branches onto the road to welcome Him when He entered the city riding on a donkey.
Commemorating this journey, 10,000 participants from all over the world march from the Greek Church of Saint Lazarus (the burial place of Lazarus on the Mount of Olives). The joyous procession winds its way down towards the Old City, where it enters through the Lion’s Gate, ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Easter Week-Monday, April 10th-Good Friday, April 14th
Daily worship is offered in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Basilica of the Agony.
Good Friday-April 14th
Good Friday commemorates Jesus’ journey to Golgotha to be crucified. The streets and passages of the Old City of Jerusalem on this date will be packed with pilgrims. Those who arrive early will bear witness to one of the most amazing sights-that of tens of thousands of pilgrims following in the footsteps of Jesus along the Via Dolorosa, many carrying large wooden crosses.
Holy Saturday-April 15th
Thousands of pilgrims traditionally gather in Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Here, you can also witness the incredible miracle of the Holy Fire ceremony, which takes place late Saturday night.
Easter Sunday and Monday-April 16th & 17th
Daily worship is offered at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher throughout the day from 10:00am-5:00pm.
Since the birth of Christianity over 2,000 years ago, this ancient land has witnessed the pilgrimages of millions of Christians from around the world. To find out more about how to make your lifelong dream of pilgrimage to the Holy Land a reality, CONTACT US >>