Easter in Israel: celebrating Christian Holy Week

Good Friday in JerusalemEaster in Israel! It happens almost every year, that moment when the two great monotheistic faiths of Judaism and Christianity meet. For Jews, Holy Week means Passover (or Pessach), for Christians, Easter.

Celebrating the Holy Week of Easter in Israel is a dream come true for many Christian pilgrims, and many thousands visit every year in order to trace the footsteps of Jesus and his last moments. If you do come and visit during Easter, just be aware that most sites will be very busy.

If you’re looking for an amazing, budget-friendly tour of the Holy sites in Jerusalem while visiting Israel over Easter, this is the tour for you. Alternatively, try this amazingly insightful tour of the 3 religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) that make Jerusalem so special.

If you’re looking to celebrate Christmas in the Holy Land, this is a must-read guide to how and where to celebrate in Israel.

Palm Sunday

This year (2017), the Christian Holy Week celebrations start on April 9 with Palm Sunday. On Palm Sunday thousands of Christian pilgrims climb Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives (read our guide to the Mount of Olives here), to re-enact Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

Typically, the procession heads down to the Church of All Nations, continues to Saint Anne Church, St. Steven’s Gate (the Lions Gate), the Old City and down the Via Dolorosa. Many thousands of pilgrims take part in this procession, with many more lining the route to greet the participants with songs and blessings. Without doubt, this Palm Sunday parade in Jerusalem is an interesting and colorful procession!

Between Palm Sunday and the next important milestone, Good Friday, you can also join a daily mass (see the schedule below) in the holy sites of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the Garden of Gethsemane church, the Basilica of the Agony.

Good Friday in Jerusalem

Good Friday (this year on April 14), marks Jesus’ journey up to Golgotha to be crucified. The streets and alleys of the Old City in Jerusalem will be packed with pilgrims, so get there early if you want to witness one of the most amazing sights in religion, with thousands of pilgrims following Jesus’ same path down the Via Dolorosa (starting at Station I), many holding crosses in spiritual support of their Lord. For more info on Good Friday in the Old City, and some great videos, click here. The procession, known as The Way of the Cross, starts at 11:30am.

Holy Saturday

The next day is Holy Saturday, and thousands of Christian pilgrims typically gather in the Old City of Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (read our full guide to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher here). Here you can also witness the amazing annual miracle of the Holy Fire (read more here).

Need an awesome hotel in Jerusalem for Holy Week? Check out our Jerusalem hotel search engine for the very best deals online!

Here’s a great video looking at some of the pilgrims and Holy Week events in the Old City…

*******************************

Easter Holy Week 2017 Schedule

Here’s a full list of the Holy Week events for 2017 (for more details of the official events during Easter, see the Christian Information Center website)

Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017

07:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Palm Procession & Pontifical Mass – Altar of Mary Magdalene
14:30 Bethpage Palm Sunday Procession from the Church of Bethpage, Mount of Olives to the Church of St. Anne
17:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Daily Procession

Holy Monday, April 10, 2017

06:00 Jerusalem Chapel of the 5th Station of the Via Crucis: Masses every ½ hour until 8:00
07:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher – Calvary: Parish Mass (Arabic)
08:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Solemn Mass
17:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Daily Procession
18:00 Bethany Church of St. Lazarus: Solemn Mass presided by the Custos

Holy Tuesday, April 11, 2017

08:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher – Holy Tomb: Solemn Mass with singing of the Passion
17:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Daily Procession

Holy Wednesday, April 12, 2017

08:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher – Holy Tomb: Solemn Mass with singing of the Passion & daily procession
08:00 Jerusalem Gethsemane – Basilica of the Agony: Solemn Mass with singing of the Passion
10:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher – Blessed Sacrament Chapel: Veneration of the Column of Flagellation throughout the day
16:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Tenebrae Service

Holy Thursday, April 13, 2017

08:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Pontifical Mass (Supper of the Lord & Mass of the Chrism) Procession of the Blessed Sacrament
Note: The doors of the Basilica will be closed shortly after the Services, without exit or entrance.

14:45 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Divine Office
Note: Basilica doors open, and close shortly afterwards. Exit after the Service (18:00). The Basilica remains closed for the rest of the day.

15:30 Jerusalem Mount Zion – Last Supper Room: Pilgrimage to the Cenacle (Washing of the feet) and to the churches of St. James and St. Mark (Departure from St. Savior Monastery at 15.10)

21:00 Jerusalem Gethsemane – Basilica of the Agony: Holy Hour (No Photographs)
Note: 22:30 – 00:00 private prayer in silence in the Basilica

Good Friday, April 14, 2017

07:15 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher – Calvary: Celebration of the Passion of the Lord
Note: Basilica doors open at 7:00 (only for celebration, not for visits) & close shortly after.

12:15 Jerusalem Via Crucis or Via Dolorosa: Way of the Cross with the Franciscan Friars
16:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Divine Office
20:10 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: “Funeral” Procession

Saturday, April 15, 2017

06:30 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher – at the Holy Tomb: Easter Vigil
18:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher – at the Holy Tomb: Solemn Vespers
23:30 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher – Altar of Mary Magdalene: Pontifical Celebration of the Divine Office presided by the Custos

Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017

10:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Entrance of Apostolic Administrator
10:30 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher –Holy Tomb: Pontifical Mass & Solemn Procession
17:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Daily Procession

Easter Monday, April 17, 2017

08:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Daily Solemn Mass
10:00 Emmaus Qubeibeh: Pontifical Mass & Blessing of bread presided by the Custos
14:30 Emmaus Qubeibeh: Vespers & Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
17:00 Jerusalem Holy Sepulcher: Daily Procession

********************

Of course, once Easter celebrations are over, there are still many amazing Christian sites to see in the Holy Land!

And if you’re looking to celebrate Christmas in the Holy Land, this is a must-read guide to how and where to celebrate in Israel.

A very happy Holy Week – and Happy Easter – to all!

Hi!

Shalom!

Looking for GREAT things to
see & do in this amazing country
?

I`m looking!

Thank you, I`m OK

OR

Sign up for our newsletter to receive regular updates on some GREAT things to see & do in Israel!

Join the thousands already signed up!

We guarantee that your email is not shared with any 3rd parties!

Thank you for signing up!

Consider yourselves part of the gang!

Send this to a friend