Orthodox Christian pilgrims hold wooden crosses as they gather outside the Holy Sepulchre church during the Holy Friday procession through the Via Dolorosa (Way of Suffering)in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 14, 2023. InternationalIndiaAfricaJERUSALEM (Sputnik) – Israeli police on Saturday blocked the entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem for visitors, including pilgrims, tourists and journalists, a Sputnik correspondent reported. Barricades and large police forces have been set up at the entrance to the Old City, where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is located and where the Holy Fire is expected to descend today. Nevertheless, some organized groups of pilgrims are able to enter the Old City. Hundreds of worshipers have gathered at the walls of the Old City, hoping to reach the shrines beyond the walls, the correspondent said. This year, Israeli law enforcement officials have imposed serious security measures during the major religious holidays. During the ceremony of the descent of the Holy Fire, the number of visitors to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre will be limited. No more than 1,800 people will be able to witness the miracle of the descent. In previous years, nearly 10,000 pilgrims were admitted to the church. In response to dissatisfaction with these restrictions on the part of Christian churches in Jerusalem, law enforcement officials have repeatedly stated that the heightened security measures are primarily aimed at ensuring that adherents of all religions can make pilgrimages to holy sites.
- Israeli Police Block Entrances to Jerusalem’s Old City For Worshipers