Palm Sunday marked in Jerusalem in shadow of escalating attacks on Christians

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The Catholic Christian community of Jerusalem marked Palm Sunday and attended mass in religious processions in the Old City.

Worshipers, led by the Latin Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, set up the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, recognized as the place where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected, and is one of the most holy Christian sites in the world.

Palm Sunday commemorates the day Jesus traditionally rode into Jerusalem, where he was cheered by crowds carrying palm fronds, according to the New Testament. The day marks the beginning of Holy Week, which ends on April 9 with Easter.

Orthodox Christians mark Palm Sunday next Sunday, and Easter a week later.

Christian places of worship in Jerusalem have seen a wave of attacks in recent months, some blamed on Jewish extremists.

Churches in Jerusalem appealed to the government on Friday to ensure that Christians are able to worship freely during and around Easter, expressing concern over the increasing violence and acts of desecration over the past year.

Roman Catholic clerics with palm fronds walk in a procession around the Edicule, traditionally believed to be the burial place of Jesus Christ, at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on April 2, 2023, Palm Sunday according to Catholic Christians . (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)

A woman participates in a Palm Sunday Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where many Christians believe he was crucified, buried and resurrected, in the Old City of Jerusalem, April 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Roman Catholic deacons walk with palm fronds as they circle a procession around the Edicule, traditionally believed to be the burial place of Jesus Christ, at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on April 2, 2023, Palm Sunday according to Christians Catholic. (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)

Christian pilgrims sit with a mosaic depicting the removal of the body of Jesus Christ from the cross at the Stone of Unction (not pictured) at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on April 2, 2023, Palm Sunday according to Catholics. (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)

Christian pilgrims with palm fronds walk as they circle the Edicule, traditionally believed to be the burial place of Jesus Christ, at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on April 2, 2023, Palm Sunday according to Catholics. (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)

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