In a message for Easter, which falls on Sunday, the heads of the local Christian communities have issued a joint statement stressing Palestinian suffering and calling for an end to Israeli blockades and curfews which the church leaders describe as collective punishment, reported The Jerusalem Post.
"Our suffering and fear in the past few months has increased in view of the uncertainty of the political situation. We reassure each and every one of our sons and daughters that we share the pain of every family that is deprived of hope as they go through their daily lives without jobs and income, or are exposed physically and psychologically to the painful measures that are imposed on them.
"Although the closures that are sealing most of the Palestinian territories bring days of deep despair, we ought to remain committed to hope," said the church leaders, who include the patriarchs of the historic churches.
The statement also included a prayer for "the immediate end of all collective punishments, especially for the lifting of the closures of Palestinian towns and villages."
This year, although the dates for Easter are the same for the western and the eastern churches, a relatively small number of Christian pilgrims from abroad and local Christians are expected to participate in the traditional ceremonies, which include processions with crosses along the Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem marking Good Friday today, said The Post.
Tomorrow, added the paper, Holy Saturday is marked by the Orthodox churches with the Ceremony of the Holy Fire at noon in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and by midnight Easter services Saurday night. Among the Protestant Easter sunrise services on Sunday in English are those at St. Andrew's Church of Scotland at 6 a.m., at Augusta Victioria at 5 a.m., and at the Garden Tomb at 6:30 a.m – Albawaba.com
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