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Jerusalem: 15,000 attend Holy Saturday ceremony

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  • Jerusalem: 15,000 attend Holy Saturday ceremony

    15,000 attend Holy Saturday ceremony

    Jerusalem Post
    April 22 2006

    Some 15,000 people attended Holy Saturday ceremonies Jerusalem on
    Saturday. Thousands of police were positioned around the Church of the
    Holy Sepulcher in east Jerusalem, hoping to prevent confrontations
    between various groups of worshippers expected to make their way to
    the church.

    Police were also patrolling streets and alleys adjacent to the church,
    and closed the Old City to cars, requesting that visitors park outside
    the walls, Israel Radio reported.

    Holy Saturday, which falls between Good Friday and Easter Day, marks
    the day on which Christ's body lay in his tomb.

    Easter rites at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher have been marked by
    violence in the past. Since the Crusades, three major denominations
    have controlled the church - Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and
    (Latin) Roman Catholic - with the rights and privileges of all of
    the communities protected by the Status Quo of the Holy Places set
    up in 1852.

    According to Dep.-Cmdr. Asher Ben- Atrzi, head of the Israel Police
    Interpol and Foreign Liaison Section, almost every year a dispute
    erupts between the Armenians and the Greeks over who enters the cave
    where Jesus is believed to be buried first. The different denominations
    also argue over prayer times. 'The police really need to be hands
    on at the churches,' he explained, 'to prevent them from arguing
    and fighting.'