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Christians Mark Palm Sunday            03/29 11:23

   (AP) -- Christians around the world are marking Palm Sunday by waving 
fronds, attending church services and visiting sites in the Holy Land at the 
start of the Holy Week that ends with Easter.

   Crowds of faithful gathered in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the 
traditional site of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Many waved the fronds 
to symbolize how worshippers greeted Jesus over 2,000 years ago as he 
triumphantly returned to Jerusalem.

   Later in the day, hundreds of Christian pilgrims are expected to march 
behind a white donkey from the Mount of Olives to the holy city, retracing 
Jesus' traditional route into Jerusalem.

   Worshippers also gathered in the Nativity Church in Bethlehem, the 
traditional site of Jesus' birth, clutching olive branches and bouquets as they 
sung in praise.

   At the Vatican, Pope Francis marked Palm Sunday in St. Peter's Square. In 
keeping with the simple tone of his 2-year-old papacy, Francis leaned on a 
plain wooden pastoral staff instead of a traditionally more ornate one as he 
stood under a red canopy on the basilica steps.

   In Nigeria, the faithful attended church a day after millions voted in a 
presidential election too close to call, many praying for peace after violence 
marred its 2011 poll.

   Christians also prayed in religiously diverse Lebanon as well, some of those 
refugees who have fled Syria's four-year conflict.


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