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The Shepherd's Guild

Holy Week around the World 2008 - 2016

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Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III on Pascha

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Pascha: Anastasi Service, Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Los Angeles, CA

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Pascha, O Pascha

2008

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Priests attend an Orthodox midnight Easter mass in Tbilisi April 26, 2008. REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze (GEORGIA)

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Greek-Orthodox worshippers stand outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during the Eastern Church's Good Friday procession in the old City of Jerusalem April 25, 2008. Thousands of worshippers retraced the traditional route Jesus Christ took along the Via Dolorosa to his crucifixion in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. REUTERS/Steve Crisp (JERUSALEM)

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The Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, sprays holy water at worshippers after the Easter ceremony of the Washing of the Feet, which commemorates Jesus's actions at the Last Supper. (Photo: BBC News)

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A boy lights a candle during a Palm Sunday service in Veliky Novgorod, Russia, April 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mikhail Mordasov

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Bulgarians admire painted Easter eggs at an exhibition in the town of Varna. The Orthodox Church will celebrate Easter on 27 April. (BBC News)

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An Orthodox Christian pilgrim kisses an icon in a monastery near the baptismal site of Kasser el Yahud on the banks of the Jordan River, near the West Bank city of Jericho, April 22, 2008. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (WEST BANK)

2009

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In Gaza City, Orthodox worshippers attended a Palm Sunday Liturgy (Source: BBC News)

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Sister Despina, an 89 year old Greek Orthodox nun, holds candles at the Apostolos Andreas monastery in Dipkarpaz, Riso Karpaso, in the Turkish administered northern part of Cyprus, some 150 km (93 miles) east of Nicosia, April 18, 2009. Dipkarpaz is the home to Northern Cyprus' largest of Greek Cypriot community, millions of Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter on Sunday. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

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Traditionally hand painted eggs for Easter are displayed for sale during a Palm Sunday fair at the Village Museum in Bucharest April 12, 2009. Romania's Orthodox majority celebrates Easter a week after the Catholics. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

2010

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Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III (C) leads the Palm Sunday mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city on March 28, 2010. Palm Sunday marks the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem the week before his crucifixion, when a cheering crowd greeted him waving palm leaves. It also marks the start of the most solemn week in the Christian calendar.  Photo: GALITIBBON AFP/Getty Images

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Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theofilos III, right, washes the foot of a priest during the Washing of the Feet ceremony outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed by many Christians to be the site of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ, in Jerusalem's Old City. Christians from around the world are in the Holy Land marking the solemn period of Easter. TARA TODRAS-WHITEHILL / AP

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Orthodox Christians immerse themselves in the Jordan River at a baptism ceremony, during Holy Week, at Qasr el Yahud near the West Bank town of Jericho. The site is traditionally believed by many to be the place where Jesus was baptized. photo: Ariel Schalit-AP

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Christian Orthodox pilgrims hold crosses during Good Friday processions in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, traditionally believed to be the site of the crucifixion of Christ, in Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, April 2, 2010. Christians are marking the solemn period of Easter. (AP Photo / (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

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A Greek Orthodox faithful walks behind an image of Jesus Christ crucified, on Good Friday at Penteli monastery in Athens April 2, 2010. Credit: REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis 

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Worshippers pay homage to a giant wooden cross during a Good Friday reenactment of Christ being taken down from the crucifix, at the Pendeli Monastery, near Athens, on Friday, April 2, 2010. Orthodox Christians around the world celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 4. (AP Photo / (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

2011

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Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theofilos III, center, pours water into a basin during the Washing of the Feet ceremony outside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried, in Jerusalem's Old City, Thursday, April 21, 2011. Christians from around the world are in the Holy Land marking the solemn period of Pascha (Easter). (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

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A general view of the Church of Holy Sepulchre during a Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony in Jerusalem's Old City April 18, 2009. Millions of Orthodox Christians celebrate Pascha (Easter) on Sunday. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

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View looking down from the rotunda inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem that shows the Tomb of Christ as the miracle of the Holy Fire occurs on April 23, the day before Easter. Eastern Orthodox Christians believe the Holy Fire, which emenates from within the Tomb of Christ and quickly spreads around the church and outside to Jerusalem and even to foreign countries, represents the flame of the Resurrection power, as well as the fire of the Burning Bush of Mount Sinai. Abir Sultan/EPA

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A general view of the Church of Holy Sepulchre during the Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony in Jerusalem's Old City on April 23. Christians around the world celebrate Easter on Sunday. REUTERS/NIR ELIAS

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Christian Orthodox worshippers hold up candles lit from the 'Holy Fire' as thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city on April 23, 2011 during the 'Holy Fire' ceremony on the eve of the Orthodox Easter. The ceremony celebrated in the same way for 11 centuries, is marked by the appearance of 'sacred fire' in the two cavities on either side of the Holy Sepulchre. The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is the site of the final resting place of Jesus Christ, according to Christian tradition. AFP/ Getty Images / Gali Tibbon

2012

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Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theofilos III  leads  Palm Sunday liturgy in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City April 8, 2012. REUTERS/Ammar Awad 

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Women attend a religious service prior to an orthodox Palm Sunday pilgrimage passing by several churches in Bucharest, Romania, Saturday afternoon, April 7, 2012. Thousands marched, according to local media, across Romania and attended religious services ahead of Palm Sunday. This year the country's Orthodox majority celebrates Easter a week later than the Catholics on April 15. 

photo: VADIM GHIRDA/AP

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A member of the Orthodox clergy takes part in a Palm Sunday mass at the Saint Porfirios church in Gaza City April 8, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

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A lit candle is seen on a cross of a grave during Orthodox Palm Sunday in Heresti cemetery, 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Bucharest April 8, 2012. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, a week before his crucifixion. Romania's Christian Orthodox majority will celebrate Easter on April 15, a week after the Catholics. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

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Palm Sunday in Russia ... Orthodox peoples who live in areas without palms, including the Russian Orthodox, use pussy willow branches rather than palms in the celebration of this event. Palm Sunday is known as Willow Sunday in Russia.

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Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Metropolitan Theophilos (3rd L) sits as members of the clergy surround him during the Washing of the Feet ceremony outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City April 12, 2012, ahead of Orthodox Easter. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (JERUSALEM - Tags: RELIGION)

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Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theofilos III, right, uses flowers to sprinkle worshippers with water after the Washing of the Feet ceremony outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed by many to be the site of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ, in Jerusalem's Old City, Thursday, April 12, 2012. (AP / Sebastian Scheiner)

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Orthodox Christian pilgrims hold wooden crosses as they take part in the Good Friday procession along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem's old city on April 13, 2012 ahead of Orthodox Easter. Thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world have flocked to the Holy City to mark Good Friday and pray along the traditional route Jesus Christ took to his crucifixion, leading up to his resurrection on Easter. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

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Georgian Orthodox Christians hold wooden crosses as they take part in the Good Friday procession along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem's old city on April 13, 2012 ahead of Orthodox Easter. Thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world have flocked to the Holy City to mark Good Friday and pray along the traditional route Jesus Christ took to his crucifixion, leading up to his resurrection on Easter. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

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Orthodox Christian pilgrims hold wooden crosses as they take part in the Good Friday procession along the Via Dolorosa ahead of Orthodox Easter in Jerusalem's old city, Israel. Orthodox christians are celebrating Easter a week after Roman Catholics as dictated by the Julian calendar. Pilgrims are taking part in processions along the route that Jesus is believed to have taken in his last days as he carried the cross. photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

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Holy Friday in Safita 2012 (Syria)

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Orthodox Christians hold a wooden cross as they take part in the Good Friday procession along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem's old city on April 13, 2012 ahead of Orthodox Easter. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ

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The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Krill on Holy Friday carrys the Epitaphios (plashchanitsa).

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Holy Friday @ St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Greenville, SC... photo by Benjamin Slayton

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Holy Friday @ St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Greenville, SC... photo by Benjamin Slayton

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George Gildasis carries the cross during the Procession of Epitaphios during Good Friday service at Transfiguration of Our Savior Greek Orthodox Church on April 13, 2012. The church as well as others Eastern Orthodox churches celebrates Easter according to the Julian Calendar not the Gregorian Calendar like Western Christianity.

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A general view is seen of the Church of Holy Sepulchre during a Christian Orthodox Holy Fire ceremony in Jerusalem’s Ancient City.

Image by: NIR ELIAS / Reuters / Reuters

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Thousands of Orthodox Christians filled Jerusalem’s ancient Church of the Holy Sepulchre and spilled out into the narrow streets on Saturday for the “Holy Fire” ceremony on the eve of Orthodox Easter.

Believers hold that the fire is miraculously sent from heaven to ignite candles held by the Greek Orthodox patriarch in an annual rite dating back to the 4th century that symbolises the resurrection of Jesus.

Israeli public radio said around 10,000 faithful attended this year’s ceremony, fewer than in recent years, as police were deployed around the church and in the streets of the surrounding Old City to keep the jubilation from getting out of hand.

Patriarch Theophilos III traditionally makes his grand entry at the head of a procession of monks, chanters, dignitaries and red and gold banners bearing icons.

After circling an ornate shrine in the heart of the church three times amid chants of “Axios” (“He is worthy”), he enters what Orthodox, Roman Catholics and many other Christians believe is Jesus’s burial site, emerging minutes later with several lit candles.

The patriarch is always searched beforehand to ensure that he is carrying nothing, such as matches or a lighter, that could be used to light the candles.

As joyous people press in on him, the patriarch passes on the flames to their outstretched candles. The fire makes its way through the crowd, casting a flickering orange glow on the grey walls and towering stone columns, and filling the air with smoke.

Pilgrims claim the Holy Fire does not burn their hair, faces, clothes or anything else during the first 33 minutes of its appearance, and one web site (http://www.holyfire.org) offers videos claiming to show worshippers in prolonged contact with the flames without being hurt.

The Holy Fire, which quickly makes its way outside to the crowds waiting there, is also carried to nearby Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, where Jesus is believed to have been born, and also much farther afield.

It will be flown to Athens and to the capitals of other predominantly Orthodox countries to be shared.

The church, which the Orthodox call the Church of Resurrection, also encloses what is widely believed to be Calvary, the site on which Jesus was crucified.

While it is therefore one of Christianity’s holiest sites, it is shared uneasily by six denominations — the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Armenian Orthodox, Egyptian Copts, Syrian Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox.

Past ceremonies have been marred by violence, with fist fights breaking out among monks from the different denominations over perceived changes to a status quo hammered out over several centuries.

The date of Orthodox Easter is calculated differently than by the Roman Catholics and other churches, so the most important feast of the Christian year is frequently celebrated on different Sundays. ASSOCIATED PRESS

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The Holy Fire descended again upon Jerusalem on Great Saturday - Photo by Reuters DarikNews 

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Holy Pascha in the Republic of Georgia, 2012

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Holy Pascha @ St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Greenville, SC -- photo by Benjamin Slayton

2013

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Palestinian Orthodox Christian boy holds a candle during Palm Sunday mass at the Saint Porfirios church in Gaza City April 28, 2013. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem 

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A woman burns incense in front of the graves of her relatives at a cemetery in the village of Copaciu, 42km southwest of Bucharest. Orthodox women went to church and cemeteries in the early morning on Maundy Thursday to light candles, burn incense and mourn their dead as part of a southern Romanian tradition. Holy Thursday is the day Christians commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus Christ. Romania’s Orthodox majority celebrates Easter on May 5. Bogdan Cristel/Reuters

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Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theofilos III leads service on Holy Thursday.

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Removal of the Shroud - On Holy & Great Friday in Russia - the day dedicated to the remembrance of the saving Passion of the Saints of the Lord Jesus Christ in the church of the monastery was Vvedenskoye make the evening with the removal of the Shroud of the Savior.
 
At the end of Vespers, the singing troparja "The noble Joseph, of the tree of Thy most pure Body snem" from the altar in the middle of the temple was moved with the image of the Holy Shroud of Christ's burial.
 

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A Greek Orthodox child kisses the feet of a figure of a crucified Jesus Christ on Good Friday at Penteli monastery north of Athens May 3, 2013. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

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A boy kisses an icon of Christ as he prays during Good Friday at the St. Sava temple in Belgrade May 3, 2013. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

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Orthodox Christian worshipers hold crosses as they take part in the Eastern and Orthodox Church's Good Friday procession along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem's Old City May 3, 2013. Thousands of worshipers retraced the route Jesus took along the Via Dolorosa to his crucifixion in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MAY 04:(Israel out) Christian worshipers light candles lit from a flame that emerged from the tomb believed to be of Jesus Christ as they take part in the ceremony of the holy fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher May 04, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. The ancient fire ritual celebrates the Messiah's resurrection after being crucified on the cross. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi /Getty Images)

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Christian Orthodox worshippers hold up candles lit from the 'Holy Fire' as thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city on May 4, 2013 during the 'Holy Fire' ceremony on the eve of the Orthodox Easter. Believers hold that the fire is miraculously sent from heaven to ignite candles held by the Greek Orthodox patriarch in an annual rite dating back to the 4th century that symbolises the resurrection of Jesus. AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

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Greek Orthodox worshipers hold a palm fond in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during Orthodox Palm Sunday, in Jerusalem, Sunday, April 5, 2015 (photo credit: AP/Ariel Schalit)

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Palm Sunday is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated on the Sunday before Easter. A mere few days before His crucifixion, Jesus Christ was received by adoring throngs at his entry into Jerusalem on the back of young donkey. The crowds threw palm branches (a symbol of victory) in his path in jubilation, and even the children shouted praises to Him. The Orthodox celebrate this day with joy, but with the realization that very sad events are soon to come. Orthodox people who live in areas without palms, including the Russian Orthodox, use pussy willow branches instead of palms in the celebration of this event. (source: Discover Russia)

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Palm Sunday 2015 in Russia

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Orthodox Christians hold candles as they attend Palm Sunday liturgy at the Saint Porfirios Church in Gaza City April 5, 2015 (photo: Reuters)

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Romanians sit next to fires in a cemetery during Orthodox Palm Sunday memorial for the departed in Herasti, southern Romania, early Sunday, April 5, 2015. Orthodox believers gather at midnight, light fires at the graves and share food in memory of their dead relatives.  Photo: Vadim Ghirda

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An Orthodox priest blesses worshipers during Palm Sunda in Tibilis, Georgia.

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Palm Sunday celebrated at the Serbian Patriarchate.

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Saturday of Lazarus': His Beatitude Theophilos, Patriarch of Jerusalem at the Convent of Mary and Martha. Convent dedicated to Lazarus' sisters.

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Orthodox priests march before a Palm Sunday religious service back dropped by mural paintings in Bucharest, Romania, Saturday, April 13, 2014. According to local media 800 priests marched through the Romanian capital ahead of Palm Sunday. This year the country’s Orthodox majority celebrates Easter along with the Catholics on April 20.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

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Vigil on the eve of the Feast of the Entry into Jerusalem at the Vvedenskii Monastery (convent) in Russia

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His Beatitude, John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, presided over the Divine Liturgy of Palm Sunday in the Mariamite (Greek Orthodox) Cathedral in Damascus. His Grace Bishop Efraim (Malouli), priests and deacons participated in the liturgy.

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The SOBOR Cathedral of Bucharest Patriarchal servants at the Feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem.

2014

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Holy and Great Thursday, 2014: His Beatitude Theophilos, The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem with clergy

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Holy and Great Thursday, 2014: His Beatitude Theophilos, The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Washing of the Feet of priests to commemorate Jesus' washing. and Christ’s last hours prior to his arrest in Gethsemane.

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Orthodox Christian pilgrims hold wooden crosses as they take part in the Good Friday procession on April 18, 2014 in Jerusalem's old city, Israel.Thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world have flocked to the Holy City to mark Good Friday and pray along the traditional route Jesus Christ took to his crucifixion. IMAGE: LIOR MIZRAHI/GETTY IMAGES

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Holy and Great Friday at the Halki Theological School

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Holy and Great Friday at the Vvedensky Monastery

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Holy and Great Friday at the Halki Theological School : The decorated bier for the Epitaphios.

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The Epitaphio and Cross at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Greenville, SC

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JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - APRIL 19: Christian Orthodox worshipers hold candles lit from a flame that emerged from the tomb believed to be of Jesus Christ as they take part in the ceremony of the holy fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher April 19, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. The ancient fire ritual celebrates the Messiah's resurrection after being crucified on the cross. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

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Thousands of Christians have gathered in Jerusalem to light torches and candles from a holy flame that 'miraculously' emerged from the tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the eve of Orthodox Easter. photo: AFP Photo/Gali Tibbon

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Pascha at Halki Theological School

2015

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Palm Sunday 2015, Procession to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

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Palm Sunday 2015, His Beatitude Theophilus, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem gives blessings at the Beautiful Gate.

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Palm Sunday 2015, Existing the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, His Beatitude Theophilus, Patriarch of Jerusalem

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Romania, Palm Sunday 2015

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Holy Wednesday 2015 - Holy Unction service in a ROCOR parish, USA

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Holy Thursday at a monastery, dyeing the eggs, Greece (photo credit: ΜΟΝΑΣΤΗΡΙΑΚΑ)

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Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Theophilos (C) leaves the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to begin the washing of the feet ceremony in Jerusalem's Old City, April 9, 2015, ahead of Orthodox Easter. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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Great and Holy Thursday evening service in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, April 9, 2015

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The Archdiocese of Arad in Romania - Priests and laity from around Banet  take part in a  procession similar to that held in Jerusalem (which organizes pilgrimages Jesus Christ on the road to go back to the Cross, Calvary hill climbing and making 14 stops or stations, as did the Saviour under the weight of the Cross), have restored the Good Friday way of the Cross,, "the Bodrog Monastery.

The Monastery of Hodos - Bodrog tradition browsing,, Way of the Cross "dates from 1925, from the time of Bishop Gregory Comsa, then the order consisting only of meditation and ongoing added some specific songs Week.

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Members of the Greek Orthodox clergy carry a cross along the Via Dolorosa, 2015Baz Ratner/Reuters

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Holy Friday 2015, St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Greenville, SC

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Holy Friday Vespers 2015, St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Greenville, SC

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Holy Friday at Halki Theological School, 2015

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Pascha, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem 2015

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Pascha at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Greenville, SC

2016

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Palm Sunday 2016, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophillos, photo: Jerusalem Patriarchate

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Palm Sunday 2016 in Jerusalem - photo: Jerusalem Patriarchate

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Holy Wednesday 2016, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophillos III - photo: Jerusalem Patriarchate

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Holy Wednesday in Jerusalem - photo: Jerusalem Patriarchate

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Holy Thursday in Jerusalem, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophillos III during The Foot Washing Ceremony - photo credit: Jerusalem Patriarchate

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Holy Thursday 2016, onlookers during The Foot Washing Ceremony in Jerusalem

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Holy Thursday 2016, Halki Theological School

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Orthodox Christian worshipers from Serbia hold crosses as they walk along Via Dolorosa during the Holy Week Good Friday procession in Jerusalem's Old City, April 29, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD

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A woman takes a picture of a traditional Ukrainian Easter egg pysanka, installed as part of the upcoming celebrations of Easter, in central Kiev, Ukraine, April 29, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO

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Holy Friday 2016: The Epitaphio and Cross at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Greenville, SC

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Holy and Great Friday 2016, Church of the Holy Sepulchre - photo: Jerusalem Patriarchate

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Holy Friday, Epitaphio at the St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Greenville, SC

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Holy Friday Lamentations at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, Jordanville, New York, 2016

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Holy Pascha 2016, The Holy Fire, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophillos III at the Church of the Holy Sepculchre in Jerusalem

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Pascha 2016, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem -- photo: Sofia Globe