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As I mentioned in the previous post, I left the Sepulchre as part of one of the many processions through the streets of the Old City that took place during all of Holy Week. It cannot have been Orthodox, as their Easter fell a week later this year. It probably wasn’t Catholic, as their habits of the monks involved were not Catholic. This is problematic; they were also not Armenian, as their habits weren’t fitting for that either. They also traveled with a bishop of some sort (check him out, as well as the clothing of those in the procession in the attached photographs), but his demeanor and clothing didn’t provide me any hints with nationality or denomination. That, and they were escorting the ambassador and his wife (according to other bystanders, from Holland). As such, we had the ceremonial Arabic Christian guards leading the procession, and ceremonial (proper, unknown ethnicity here) guards at the rear of the procession.

We moved through the extremely narrow streets, with all other people forced to stop for us either due to the weight of people pushing forward, or helpful IDF soldiers making use of some of their legitimized governmental force to coerce people into waiting (a guy with a machine gun and friends tells you to wait, you’ll probably end up pausing, at the very least). Along the way, I encountered people speaking every conceivable language as they scurried from Holy Site A to Holy Site B, in many cases managing the wordless arguments of yelling and gesturing that so often arise between people of different nations trying to get to the same place. For example, apparently one of the Easter processions in the Old City last year saw Monk of Denomination H get too close to the line of Monk of Denomination J, prompting… a brawl between the monks present. Not especially Christian behavior, but this also partially explains the nearly excessive security forces throughout the Old City. I also passed by the single helpful Israeli banker, the man who helped me be able to take shekels out of the bank without 15 (I counted them) pages of paperwork every time; apparently he is a Christian, as he was also in his Easter best and carrying a palm frond. Eventually, we got towards the area of the Jaffa Gate, where there is actually a plaza and thus the ability for me to finally get ahead of the ponderous procession to get some better photographs. At this point, the procession actually stopped for the only thing which could stop it – another, bigger procession. Read about my encounters with various Palestinian Scouts in the next post.

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