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Christians in Holy Land, Mideast celebrate Easter

3 years 5 months 3 weeks ago March 31, 2013 Mar 31, 2013 Sunday, March 31 2013 March 31, 2013 1:56 PM in News
By: Associated Press

JERUSALEM - Catholics and Protestants have gathered in churches around the world to celebrate this Easter Sunday -- including churches in the Middle East, where some Christians feel isolated from their Muslim-majority societies.

At a church in Baghdad, some 200 worshippers attended an Easter mass behind concrete blast walls and a tight security cordon. Churches in Iraq have been under tighter security since an attack in 2010 killed dozens of people.

Some worshippers there expressed hope in their new spiritual leader. One woman said, "We hope Pope Francis will help make it better for Christians in Iraq."

In Jerusalem, Catholics worshipped in the church of the Holy Sepulcher, built on a hill where tradition holds that Jesus was crucified, briefly entombed and then resurrected. Protestants held Easter ceremonies outside Jerusalem's walled Old City at the Garden Tomb, an area that some identify as the site of Jesus' burial.

Christian populations are believed to be shrinking or at least growing more slowly than their Muslim compatriots in much of the Middle East.

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