Every year, thousands of pilgrims come to Jerusalem to relive and follow Jesus walk along the Via Dolorosa en route to his crucifixion. The Way of the Cross begins at the east-facing Lions’ Gate and runs for half a kilometer (about a third of a mile) through the narrow winding alleys of the Old City, terminating to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The procession is conducted in accordance with the gospel narratives. There are 14 Stations of the Cross, though five are based on legends and not the biblical text, namely the accounts of Jesus stumbling three times under the weight of the cross and his encounters with his mother and Veronica.
As in previous years, a visiting Christian dressed as Christ, covered in fake blood and wearing a linen robe and a crown of thorns as he assumed the role of the Redeemer. Beside him walked another portraying Jesus’ mother Mary, cloaked in black. Completing this “theatrical spectacle on the Via Dolorosa” were a couple of Roman soldiers carrying plastic swords.
That was how an Orthodox Jewish friend of...
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