JERUSALEM — Hundreds of Christians streamed through the cobblestone alleyways of Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday, hoisting wooden crosses and chanting prayers to mark the crucifixion of Jesus.
Throngs of pilgrims walked a traditional Good Friday procession that retraces Jesus’ steps along the Via Dolorosa, Latin for the ‘‘Way of Suffering.’’ They followed his 14 stations, saying a prayer at each and ending at the ancient Holy Sepulcher church.
Along the route, Franciscan friars chanted prayers in Latin and explained the different stations. Leonard Mary, a priest from Alabama, was dressed as Jesus wearing a crown of thorns. He was flanked by men posing as Roman soldiers and he lugged a giant cross.
Good Friday events began with a service at the Holy Sepulcher, which was built on the place where tradition holds that Jesus was crucified, entombed, and resurrected.
Later Friday, a service was due in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity. Christians believe Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and resurrected on Easter Sunday.
Roman Catholic and Protestant congregations that observe the new, Gregorian calendar, are marking Holy Week. Orthodox Christians will mark Good Friday in May.
Israel’s Tourism Ministry said it expects some 150,000 visitors during Easter week and the Jewish festival of Passover .