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Vocations “come and follow me”

The veneration of the Flagellation pillar on Holy Wednesday

The last hours of Jesus’ life: dinner with the disciples, Judas’ betrayal, Jesus’ prayer to the Father on the Mount of Olives, and his scourging and crucifixion. The Wednesday of Holy Week in Gethsemane reminds us of Christ’s journey that in order to get to the resurrection must pass through the Passion. The chanting of Jesus’ Passion in Latin by three singers resounded in the Church of the Agony. Presiding over the celebration was the Vicar of the Custody of the Holy Land, Fr. Dobromir Jasztal.

After the universal prayers and the Eucharist, the guardian of the monastery of Gethsemane, Br. Benito José Choque took the floor: “St. Francis used to say: ‘I would like to travel the world weeping over the Passion of my Lord.’ The chanting of the Passion of the Lord can help us to better enter into the mystery of salvation that God has shown us here in the Holy Places.”

From the Church in Gethsemane, the friars and the faithful moved to the Holy Sepulcher. On Holy Wednesday the pillar of Jesus’ Flagellation is venerated. It is preserved in the chapel of the Apparition of the Holy Sepulcher, which is owned by the Franciscans. First the friars and then the faithful approached the pillar—covered in flowers for the occasion—so as to kiss it.
There are witnesses about the pillar of the Flagellation from the year 333: Anonymous from Bordeaux said he saw it on Mount Zion, in the Upper Room. Boniface of Ragusa, who was the Custos of the Holy Land in the mid-16th century, then said that he took this pillar—which had been broken apart by the Turks when they took over the Upper Room—and decided to keep it at the Holy Sepulcher.

In the afternoon, the friars of the Custody of the Holy Land went to the Holy Sepulcher again to celebrate the Office of the Tenebrae. Later the dragoman of the Holy Sepulcher and the Franciscan sacristan of the Holy Sepulcher invited the members of the other churches to venerate the pillar of the Flagellation. So, they all came together—Franciscans, Greek Orthodox, Armenians and Copts— to venerate the pillar. This was only one of the stops during Holy Week: the Easter Triduum will begin tomorrow .

Beatrice Guarrera

2018-03-28 ©Nadim Asfour/CTS

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Vigil of Christmas. Bethlehem: 13.30 Entrance of the Archbishop & I Vespers - 16.00 Procession - 23.30 Office & 00.00 Mass - 1.45 Procession to the Grotto


Nativity of the Lord. Bethlehem (St. Catherine): 10.00 Mass Shepherds' Field (Greek & Catholic): 14.00 Pilgrimage


Feast St. Stephen, Protomartyr. St. Stephen: 16.00 Pilgrimage


Feast of the Holy Innocents. Bethlehem:10.00 Mass - 14.00 II Vespers (Vicar CTS)


Octave of Christmas. Beit Sahour: Holy Angels ad pastores

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