Orthodox Christians commemorate Maundy in Jerusalem

Thousands of Greek Orthodox Christians gather together in the holy city of Jerusalem on Thursday in the Sepulchre Church to commemorate Maundy. The occasion is a traditional ceremony where a dozen clergymen have their feet washed by Greek Orthodox Patriach Theophilus III. The event took place outside in the courtyard, three days ahead of Easter. Christians believe Jesus washed the feet of his 12 disciples prior to the Last Supper before he was crucified. The highest ranking clergyman emulates the act of Jesus in washing the feet of 12 of his clergymen. Christian churches around the world commemorated Maundy on Thursday as part of the Easter Holy Week celebrations, with Orthodox ceremonies taking place one week following Latin denominations. Thousands of onlookers inside the courtyard and on nearby rooftops watched the ceremony. Many were local Palestinian Christians from the Old City along with pilgrims from all over the world. The ceremony which was held at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is known to be the most sacred site for Christians who believe it to be the place of Christ’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection. The church was built by the Roman emperor Constantine and rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor Constantine Monomachus. It has survived fires and earthquakes. By: Nadia Mayen Al Arabiya with Agencies