Sunday, April 8, 2012


CONVERGE ON JERUSALEM FOR EASTER - Thousands of Christians gathered near Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher for Easter Saturday and marched in processions brimming with tradition, taking turns to pray in the site where they believe Jesus was slain and buried. Easter Saturday is a day of reflection and waiting for many Christians, who believe Jesus was crucified on Friday and rose from the dead on Sunday. “This day is very important for us. It’s the waiting for the great celebration of the resurrection,” said Father Ibrahim Shomali. Thousands marched through Jerusalem’s cobbled old city Saturday morning. They were led by Palestinian guards in black costumes richly embroidered with gold, topped with scarlet rimless hats. They rhythmically pounded their staffs on the cobblestone ground, providing a beat for believers to march.

The guards, “Qawwasin” in Arabic or “Marksmen” in English, are a leftover vestige from when Ottoman Muslims ruled the Holy Land, Father Shomali said. According to a series of traditions established over hundreds of years of accommodation between different Christian sects and the region’s ever-changing rulers, the Qawwasin march at the head of the Easter Saturday procession. Their job was formerly to protect Jerusalem’s Catholic patriarch. Now, it is a ceremonial role. They were followed by Franciscan monks in plain brown robes, clerics in black garb, and then laymen. The believers congregated for prayer in the Holy Sepulcher, which many Christians believe was built on the site where Jesus was crucified and buried. The Holy Sepulcher is a complex of cave-like rooms, winding corridors, a soaring domed roof, and ornate decorations alongside broken furniture.

Easter in Jerusalem began with a sunrise service at the Garden Tomb, where the faithful sang hymns of the resurrection. The garden resets the scene of Jesus’ burial place based on biblical accounts. Facing an ancient, empty tomb carved into a rock, worshippers gave the Easter proclamation: The Lord is not here; He is risen! The fact that Jesus rose from the dead remains us that the soul is eternal and will not perish.

Jesus said: “I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he die, will live and all who live and believe in me, will never die”.  (St. John 11-25). “The soul is not born, nor does it die! It always existed and it will always exist! It isn’t born, it always existed and is primordial. When the body is finished, the soul continues to exist”. Bhagavad-gita (2.20).  What happens to the soul when it leaves the body? How can we prepare for the moment of transition? In accordance with these Sacred Scriptures death does not exist but there is a rebirth into a new form of life. They teach us that we are not this body, that our physical body is just a passenger that envelopes the immortal me. They also tell us that we are spiritual beings and that our soul is eternal and blessed.

“Casa de la Sabiduría- House of Wisdom”
“Society” - “Help for the Terminally Ill”

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