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Lent has begun in the Holy Sepulcher

At the Holy Sepulcher, like every day there, different people and different Christian denominations were praying at the same place. On March 4, the first Saturday of Lent, however, prayers were simultaneous and overlapped each other. In fact, the fact that the dates of the feasts for the various Christian churches fell on the same day, brought about a blend of rituals, languages and songs in the Holy Sepulcher. For the Latins, every Saturday during Lent, the entrance of the patriarch and the solemn procession, followed by the celebration of the vigil at 11:40 p.m. will take place as well as the solemn celebrations organized for other Christians who will be present at the Holy Sepulcher during Saturdays in Lent; therefore, a specific order for the entrance of the church representatives had to be established.

At 1:30 p.m., the Latin Catholics processed in, accompanied by the Apostolic Administrator, Mons. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, along with the Franciscans from the Custody of the Holy Land and the Vicar of the Custody, Fr. Dobromir Jasztal. At 2:00 p.m., the Greek-Orthodox made their entrance led by Patriarch Theophilos. At 2:20 p.m., the Copts entered, followed, after a few minutes, by the Syriacs. At about 3:00 p.m., the Armenians arrived, with Bishop Sevan. While many young Armenian seminarians welcomed their bishop with songs, the Greek-Orthodox and other groups of people who belong to other Christian churches had already begun to pray with their songs and their compositions in different parts of the Holy Sepulcher.

After all of the representatives of the different denominations made their entry, the procession of the Latin Catholics also began. The Franciscan friars, who are the custodians of the holy places as well as of the Holy Sepulcher, formed the parade that proceeded in different stages so as to solemnly complete the daily procession. Fourteen stops, from the altar of the Blessed Sacrament to the site of Jesus' appearance to Mary, while prayers were chanted in Latin, and while friars and believers held candles within the cold walls of the Holy Sepulcher. The guardian of the brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher, Fr. Zacheusz Drazek, was also present. Upon the passage of the procession to Jesus’ tomb, the solemn moment was celebrated by making three laps around the shrine, whose restoration work is almost complete.

Every Sunday during Lent, a solemn mass will be celebrated at the Holy Sepulcher at 8:30 a.m. An intense prayer is anticipated in order to truly prepare for the Lord’s resurrection.

Beatrice Guarrera

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