Christian Arabs have their Easter Sunday respite from regional rage

Published May 5th, 2013 - 15:11 GMT

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Orthodox Christians in Bethlehem gather for a ceremony at the Church of the Nativity on Friday, in a gilded and glittering celebration.
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Image 1 of 8: Orthodox Christians in Bethlehem gather for a ceremony at the Church of the Nativity on Friday, in a gilded and glittering celebration.

In Jerusalem’s old city, Orthodox Christians hold candles lit from ‘Holy Fire’ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The significance lies in the belief that fire was sent from heaven to light candles held by the  Orthodox patriarch in a tradition that dates back to the 4th century, symbolising the resurrection of Christ.
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Image 1 of 8: In Jerusalem’s old city, Orthodox Christians hold candles lit from ‘Holy Fire’ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The significance lies in the belief that fire was sent from heaven to light candles held by the Orthodox patriarch in a tradition that dates back to the 4th century, symbolising the resurrection of Christ.

The Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II hosts the Easter mass at Saint Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Cairo’s Al Abbassiya district on Saturday. The cathedral was witness to sectarian clashes earlier this year.
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Image 1 of 8: The Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II hosts the Easter mass at Saint Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Cairo’s Al Abbassiya district on Saturday. The cathedral was witness to sectarian clashes earlier this year.

The Orthodox Christian community has been wary of marking the occasion since 2 bishops were kidnapped in April. Aleppo bishops Boulos Yazigi and Yuhanna Ibrahim were kidnapped by unknown gunmen, on their return from a trip to Turkey. Their driver was shot and their whereabouts is still unknown. Still, subdued celebrations went on in Damascus.
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Image 1 of 8: The Orthodox Christian community has been wary of marking the occasion since 2 bishops were kidnapped in April. Aleppo bishops Boulos Yazigi and Yuhanna Ibrahim were kidnapped by unknown gunmen, on their return from a trip to Turkey. Their driver was shot and their whereabouts is still unknown. Still, subdued celebrations went on in Damascus.

Christian-only camp: Syrian Christians refugees celebrate amidst hope that there will soon be a refugee camp built especially for them in Turkey, the only one of its kind across the Islamic world.
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Image 1 of 8: Christian-only camp: Syrian Christians refugees celebrate amidst hope that there will soon be a refugee camp built especially for them in Turkey, the only one of its kind across the Islamic world.

When bedouins sacrifice, they indulge in chocolate eggs. In Fuheis, one of the Christian strongholds in Jordan, Easter festivities went ahead in full force with the backing of the town governor, no less.
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Image 1 of 8: When bedouins sacrifice, they indulge in chocolate eggs. In Fuheis, one of the Christian strongholds in Jordan, Easter festivities went ahead in full force with the backing of the town governor, no less.

Beirut Souks is celebrating Easter loud and proud with a larger-than-life parade, full of stock Easter characters, dancers and musicians, and giant eggs. Along with the bizarre procession, the celebrations will also feature a story-telling tree and robotic bunnies.
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Image 1 of 8: Beirut Souks is celebrating Easter loud and proud with a larger-than-life parade, full of stock Easter characters, dancers and musicians, and giant eggs. Along with the bizarre procession, the celebrations will also feature a story-telling tree and robotic bunnies.

Iraqi Christians have their cross to bear: Obama’s presidential statement on the occasion of Orthodox Easter will have found resonance with Iraq’s Christian Orthodox community who are seeing their country once again deep in a sectarian violence, over a year after the US pullout.
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Image 1 of 8: Iraqi Christians have their cross to bear: Obama’s presidential statement on the occasion of Orthodox Easter will have found resonance with Iraq’s Christian Orthodox community who are seeing their country once again deep in a sectarian violence, over a year after the US pullout.

Despite often being overlooked due to the predominance of Islam in the region, on Easter Sunday Arab Christians from all over the Middle East came out of the woodwork to mark the Christian holy day, providing a beacon of light in an otherwise dark time.


Here’s a roundup of the most visually stunning celebrations of Easter that occurred across the Holy Land.

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