A field guide to Lent in Jerusalem

“Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights” (Mt 4:2)

By BEATA ANDONIA/ TRAVELUHJAH
February 18, 2015 16:04
4 minute read.
Christians in Jerusalem

A Christian woman outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. (photo credit: ARIEL COHEN)

 
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The Roman Catholic Church will begin the liturgical period of lent beginning on Ash Wednesday, 18th of February 2013. Lent is a forty day period of fasting, prayer which lead into the Holy Week of celebrations prior to Easter.

Lent signifies the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness of Judean desert fasting after his baptism, but prior to the beginning of his public ministry.  Tradition holds that it was on the Mount of Temptation, Jesus endured Satan’s temptation and again overcame the sin. “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Mt 4:1)

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The period of Lent is observed with prayer as it signifies the upcoming death and rebirth of Christ. In Jerusalem in particular, this holy period holds a special meaning as it is observed in the town which witnessed His passion and resurrection.

Ash Wednesday

Many local and foreign Catholic believers often attend the opening mass of Ash Wednesday, celebrated in St. Savior's Church in Jerusalem at 7 pm (in Italian).  Ash Wednesday holds the tradition of scattering ashes on the foreheads of the faithful to symbolize their repentance before God. “[…] for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19)

Celebrations in the Holy Sepulcher

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built over the site of Calvary, is the focal point for the various celebrations that occur throughout the forty day period of Lent.

Each Saturday during Lent, the Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, will lead a procession along the Stations of the Cross into the Basilica, and around the Tomb of Christ. Music from organs the sounds of hymns as well candle lighting ceremonies and incense accompany these celebrations. Just before midnight, the night vigils begin in the Latin part of the church, followed by another procession around the Holy Tomb.

On Sundays, His Beatitude, the Latin Patriarch, celebrates High Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.

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21/02 – Saturday - Eve of the 1st Sunday of Lent
•    2 p.m. -  Solemn Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre followed by Solemn Procession
•    11:40 p.m. - Solemn Matins in the Chapel of the Apparition.
22/02 – 1st Sunday of Lent
•    8:30 a.m. - Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, followed by the High Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene.
28/02 – Saturday - Eve of the 2nd Sunday of Lent
•    2 p.m. -  Solemn Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre followed by Solemn Procession
•    11:40 p.m. - Solemn Matins in the Chapel of the Apparition.
01/03 - 2nd Sunday of Lent
•    8:30 a.m. - Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, followed by the High Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene.
07/03 – Saturday - Eve of the 3rd Sunday of Lent
•    2:30 p.m. -  Solemn Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre followed by Solemn Procession
•    11:40 p.m. - Solemn Matins in the Chapel of the Apparition.
08/03 – 3rd Sunday of Lent
•    8:30 a.m. - Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, followed by the High Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene.
14/03 – Saturday - Eve of the 4th Sunday of Lent
•    2:30 p.m. -  Solemn Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre followed by Solemn Procession
•    11:40 p.m. - Solemn Matins in the Chapel of the Apparition.
15/03 – 4th Sunday of Lent
•    8:30 a.m. - Entry of His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, followed by the High Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene.
21/03 – Saturday - Eve of the 5th Sunday of Lent
•    4 p.m. -  The daily procession of the Friars of the Holy Sepulchre. No entry of his Beatitude the Latin Patriarch at 2:30 p.m.
22/03 – 5th Sunday of Lent
•    5:30 a.m. - High Mass at the Tomb, sung by the Friars of the Holy Sepulchre (No Entry of His Beatitude at 08:30)

Via Dolorosa

To be in Jerusalem during the Lent period is quite special. Every Friday at 3pm visitors can join the Franciscan brothers as they walk down the Via Dolorosa – the Way of the Cross to commemorate Jesus’ passion under the cross. The procession walks along the streets of Jerusalem to mark the journey of Christ from Pilate’s Pretorium to Golgotha. The scriptures are recited in English, Arabic, Italian and Spanish.


Beata Andonia writes regularly for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours, the leading Christian travel network focused on Holy Land tours. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


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