See Powerful Images of Pilgrims Celebrating Easter in Jerusalem

Christians gather to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus during Holy Week.

It was in Jerusalem that, according to the Christian faith, Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and resurrected.

During Holy Week (which begins on Palm Sunday, the day that marks Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, according to the Gospels) worshippers gather at the sites where it is believed these critical events occurred.

On the two most significant days of Holy Week, mourning and celebrations each take a turn in Jerusalem.

On Good Friday, when Jesus is said to have been crucified, solemn processions take place in Jerusalem’s Old City. Many Christian pilgrims from all over the world proceed from the Mount of Olives to the Holy Sepulchre in the middle of the Old City. (See our exclusive coverage on the opening of the Holy Sepulchre and the alleged burial place of Jesus for the first time in hundreds of years.)

Many of the pilgrims carry wooden crosses to commemorate the crucifixion, some carrying it on their backs as Jesus was said to have been forced to do as he marched to his crucifixion.

Many Good Friday processions end with a candlelit vigil in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where pilgrims and religious worshipped together as they meditated on the death of Jesus.

Holy Saturday followed, bringing the celebration of the Holy Fire. The celebration centres around a light that allegedly emanates from inside the Tomb of Christ, igniting nearby candles. The Greek Patriarch then shares the light around the surrounding clergy and pilgrims, spreading it to the whole congregation.

All celebrations led to the main event, Easter Sunday, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.

Orthodox pilgrims stand in the light coming from the window of the Holy Sepulchre.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Nuns blow out their candles at the Holy Fire ceremony.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Ethiopian Christian pilgrims light candles during an Orthodox Holy Fire celebration.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

The Via Dolorosa, which literally means “Way of Pain" but is translated as "Way of Sorrow," in the Old City of Jerusalem, is seen filled with pilgrims.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Christian pilgrims worship at the historic middle column of the Holy Sepulchre Church. The column has a crack which is believed to have been caused by sacred fire. That same miracle is said to appear as the Holy Fire on Easter. Pilgrims leave folded prayer notes inside the crack.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Pilgrims raise their candles, lit from a flame said to emanate from the tomb of Christ, during the Holy Fire ceremony.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Ethiopian Orthodox Christian pilgrims celebrate during a "Holy Fire" ceremony at the Orthodox church in Jerusalem's Old City.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A Christian pilgrim prepares to proceed alongside others along Via Dolorosa, which traditionally marks the path that Jesus took during his crucifixion.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

On good Friday Christian pilgrims pray inside the Holy Sepulchre in the middle of Jerusalem's Old City which is believed to be the original site of the crucifixion and then burial of Jesus.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Pilgrims in a Good Friday procession from the Mount of Olives to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City carry crosses to commemorate Jesus's procession to His crucifixion.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Catholics leave the Holy Sepulchre.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilus III, walks with candles during the Holy Fire ceremony.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

An Ethiopian Christian pilgrim reads during a Holy Fire service in Jerusalem.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilus III is pictured as he makes one of the three tours of the Edicule housing the alleged tomb where Jesus was laid to rest, preceding the Holy Fire ceremony.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

An Orthodox pilgrim stands in the light coming from a window of the Holy Sepulchre right after the Holy Fire ceremony.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Orthodox Christians clean the inside of the Edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Tawadros II, presides over an Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A Christian pilgrim carries a wooden cross inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City. The red ribbon tied around the representation of Jesus on the cross may represent the red vestment he is said to have worn when crowned with thorns on the day of his crucifixion.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

An Orthodox nun takes a picture of the Edicule with her mobile phone.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A Christian pilgrim kisses a wooden cross as she mourns the death of Jesus.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

The roof of the Edicule–and above it, the window in the ceiling of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre–are pictured through the smoke of the Holy Fire ceremony.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A Christian pilgrim proceeds to the Holy Sepulchre, which is believed to be the original site of the crucifixion and then burial of Jesus.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Catholic members of the clergy leave the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A row of nuns hold their candles at a Holy Fire service.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Header Image: On Good Friday, Christian religious prepare to lead a procession along the Via Dolorosa inside Jerusalem's Old City. PHOTOGRAPH BY ALESSIO ROMENZI, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

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