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.