Crowds gather for Holy Fire ceremony at Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre

a group of people standing in front of a building: Orthodox Christian worshippers attend the Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem © Reuters/AMMAR AWAD Orthodox Christian worshippers attend the Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Orthodox Christians flocked to Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Saturday to celebrate the Holy Fire ceremony, gathering in far greater numbers than last year because coronavirus restrictions have eased.

Orthodox Christian worshippers attend the Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem © Reuters/AMMAR AWAD Orthodox Christian worshippers attend the Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

The Holy Fire ceremony, symbolising Jesus's resurrection, is one of the most colourful spectacles of the Orthodox Easter season, usually attended by many pilgrims.

This season's religious holidays in the Holy Land, home to religious sites sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims, have been overshadowed by tragedy.

Israel is mourning the death of 45 Jewish worshippers killed in a stampede overnight between Thursday and Friday at a religious festival in the north of the country.

With Jerusalem under lockdown last year's Holy Fire ceremony was held in the near-empty church that is revered by Christians as the site of Jesus's crucifixion, burial and resurrection.


Gallery: This Is What World War III Will Look Like (Time)

Crowds gather for Holy Fire ceremony at Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre