In Jerusalem, Catholics commemorate when Jesus was crowned with thorns

Catholics gathered in Jerusalem on Friday, the first Friday of Lent, to remember an event from the Bible called the 2nd Sorrowful Mystery when Jesus was crowned with thorns. 

Bishop Emeritus Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo led the commemoration at the Ecce Homo convent chapel. The Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion and the Chemin Neuf Community manage the convent.

Marcuzzo, in his talk, stressed the responsibility of the local Catholic community to commemorate the “mysteries of the Gospel where they took place,” the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said.

He also stressed a message of forgiveness, similar to the message of His Beatitude Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, who spoke on Ash Wednesday, a few days prior at the Pro-Cathedral of the Latin Patriarchate, the principal or “mother” church of the Diocese of Jerusalem.

“The Lenten season is a favorable time for forgiveness, for reconciliation,” the patriarch said.

Feast of Thorns ceremony in Jerusalem. (credit: LATIN PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM)

According to Christian tradition, Jesus was crowned with thorns on the day of his crucifixion. The thorns were meant to mock him for claiming to be the “king of the Jews.” The crown was made from local thorn bushes by the Roman soldiers. 

History of the crown 

What is believed to be this crown was kept in Jerusalem until it was transferred to Constantinople in 1063. It was eventually taken to Paris, where it remains today. 

There are only around 30,000 Catholics living in Israel, according to data shared by the Latin Patriarchate, not including Russian-speaking Christians, Catholic foreign workers, and Catholic refugees.

Around 187,900 Christians live in Israel, composing 1.9% of the population, according to a report released in December 2023 by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The Christian population in Israel has been experiencing minor growth for the last several years.

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