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A busy holiday season in Jerusalem’s Old City

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy stands beneath Jewish prayer shawls during the priestly blessing prayer on the holiday of Passover at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on April 13, 2017. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Amir Cohen

(RNS) One of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem is holy to the three major Abrahamic faiths: Christianity, Islam and Judaism. And the city is divided into quarters: Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Armenian.

This week, three of those quarters — Christian, Jewish and Armenian — are especially busy because this year Easter as celebrated by Western Christians falls on the same day as the Eastern Orthodox observation, Sunday (April 16), and that in turns falls within the weeklong Jewish holiday Passover, which began last Monday (it lasts eight days outside Israel).

On Thursday, Jewish worshippers thronged the special priestly blessing at the Western Wall, remnant of the ancient Holy Temple complex. And in the Christian Quarter, people took part in the “Washing of the Feet” ceremony, the way Jesus did to his Apostles in John 13, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

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