Jerusalem: Thousands of Christian pilgrims
streamed into Jerusalem`s cavernous Church of the Holy
Sepulchre to celebrate Easter Sunday at the traditional site of
Jesus`s crucifixion and burial.
Incense filled the air as Western and Orthodox pilgrims
packed into the labyrinthine maze of chapels and crypts lit by
thousands of candles as services were held at the grotto where
Jesus is believed to have risen from the dead.
Women in shawls knelt to kiss the stone where Jesus`s
body is believed to have been prepared for burial as bearded
monks in long black robes watched over visitors making their
way through Christianity`s holiest site.
The centuries-old church is shared uneasily by six
denominations of Jesus Christ`s followers -- Greek Orthodox,
Roman Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Egyptian Copts, Syrian
Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox.
In previous years Israeli police have had to rush into
the church to break up fist fights between rival monks over
alleged attempts to alter a delicate status quo hammered out
over centuries, but this year calm prevailed.
Israeli police had stepped up security across the walled
Old City during holy week, when thousands of pilgrims trace
Jesus`s final steps through the winding cobblestone streets of