Christians mark Easter at Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre

Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Palm Sunday in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site where they believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected, in Jerusalem's old city, on Sunday. (AP)
Updated 02 April 2018

Christians mark Easter at Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre

JERUSALEM: Hundreds of visitors filed into Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre — believed to be the site of Jesus’s resurrection — for Easter celebrations on Sunday.
Western Christians marked Easter on Sunday, while Eastern Orthodox Christians do so on April 8.
The Eastern Orthodox marked Palm Sunday on April 1 and also held mass at the church in Jerusalem’s Old City, with worshippers holding palm fronds as is tradition.
Some worshippers prostrated over a stone — where they believe Jesus’s body was anointed before his burial — near the towering wooden doors at the entrance to the church.
The church is built at the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. A recently renovated ornate shrine within the church surrounds the cave where Jesus is believed to have been buried.
Catholic Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa held mass at the church on Sunday morning near the shrine over the cave, entering dressed in the traditional purple Easter robe.
He made reference to the Middle East’s numerous conflicts in his homily, saying “our times are marked by death.”
“Easter is the ability to come back and look at our history in the light of the promise of life that takes place today,” he said.
“Yes, today, at Easter, we announce a life that death can no more extinguish.”
On Friday, Christians traced the route of the Stations of the Cross through the Old City, which pass through the traditional sites of Jesus’s condemnation up to his crucifixion.
In March 2017, renovations to the 19th-century shrine covering Jesus’s tomb were unveiled following a $3.7 million project that restored its stones to their original reddish-yellow and reinforced the heavily visited site.
The Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic denominations share custody of the church, but disputes between the three had led to renovations being delayed for decades.
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Algerian president, 75, self isolates as pandemic spreads

Updated 24 October 2020

Algerian president, 75, self isolates as pandemic spreads

  • Tebboune is self isolating because some officials in “upper ranks of the government” are sick with COVID-19
  • “I assure you, my brothers and sisters, that I am well and healthy and that I continue my work,” he said

ALGIERS: Algeria’s 75-year-old President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is self isolating because some officials in “upper ranks of the government” are sick with COVID-19, he said in a Tweet on Saturday.
Tebboune took office in December in an election that came amidst months of mass protests which forced his predecessor Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power after 20 years.
“I assure you, my brothers and sisters, that I am well and healthy and that I continue my work,” he said, saying his decision was taken on the advice of medical staff.
The global pandemic struck Algeria’s economy as it faced long-term challenges posed by the decline of the oil and gas revenues that finance its historically lavish state spending.
So far, Algeria has officially confirmed more than 55,000 cases of the coronavirus with nearly 2,000 deaths.
Though the pandemic forced an end to the weekly mass protest marches through Algiers and other cities that lasted for more than a year, the political challenges remain.
Tebboune has pushed for changes to Algeria’s referendum to limit presidential terms while expanding the powers of the parliament and judiciary.
However, many people in the leaderless protest movement believe their core goals of replacing the old ruling elite and forcing the army to stay out of politics remain unmet.
Algerians will vote in a referendum on the new constitution on Nov. 1, with Tebboune and the country’s powerful army generals seeking a high turnout in order to turn a page on the protests.