Jews, Christians Mark Religious Festivals in Holy City

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Every so often, the vagaries of the Gregorian and lunar calendars mean that the Jewish festival of Passover and the Christian Easter coincide.

On such occasions, the Holy City of Jerusalem is awash with pilgrims and worshippers from both religions.

On Thursday, the second intermediate day of the eight-day Passover holiday, ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered at the Western Wall for the priestly blessing, while Good Friday – when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus –believers will parade through the Old City, via the Stations of the Cross.

In Rome, meanwhile, two young women were among 12 people whose feet Pope Francis washed and kissed at a traditional ceremony in a youth prison on Holy Thursday, the first time a pontiff has included females in the rite.

The pope traveled to the Casal del Marmo prison on Rome's outskirts for the traditional Mass, which commemorates Jesus's gesture of humility toward his apostles the night before he died.

The ceremony has been traditionally limited to men because all of Jesus' apostles were male. The Vatican spokesman said two of the 12 whose feet were washed were Muslim inmates.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men of the Cohanim priestly caste participating in a blessing during the Jewish holiday of Passover in Jerusalem on March 29.Credit: AP
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A Christian pilgrim reenacts the crucifixion of Jesus Christ along the path where Jesus walked, now known as the 'Via Dolorosa', or the 'Way of Suffering', on Good Friday Jerusalem, March 29, 2013.Credit: AFP
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Jewish worshippers wrapped in prayer shawls take part in a special priestly blessing during the Jewish holiday of Passover at the Western Wall on March 29th.Credit: Reuters
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An ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy prays at the Western Wall on March 28thCredit: Reuters

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