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In photos: Greek Orthodox Christians celebrate Palm Sunday in Gaza

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  Gaza, Palestine, Palm Sunday procession at Gaza’s Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius April 28, 2013 (Photo: Joe Catron)

Greek Orthodox Christians at Gaza’s Church of Saint Porphyrius, which recently commemorated its 1,606th anniversary, celebrated Palm Sunday yesterday according to the Eastern church calendar.

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(Photo: Joe Catron)
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(Photo: Joe Catron)

The liturgy and procession in the church’s ancient courtyard followed an annual gathering on Friday afternoon, when parishioners wove palm reeds into crosses and baskets for yesterday’s event.

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(Photo: Joe Catron)
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(Photo: Joe Catron)
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(Photo: Joe Catron)

Unlike Christians in much of the world, those in the besieged Gaza Strip cannot attend religious celebrations elsewhere in Palestine without special authorization by Israeli occupation authorities.

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(Photo: Joe Catron)
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(Photo: Joe Catron)

The Israeli army’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit only issues a small number of these permits, to Christians younger than 16 or older than 35.

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(Photo: Joe Catron)
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(Photo: Joe Catron)

Christians between these ages, too old, young, or ill to travel without assistance by relatives in the prohibited age range, or arbitrarily denied permits, as well as all the Gaza Strip’s large Muslim majority, are prevented from accessing religious sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and elsewhere.

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(Photo: Joe Catron)
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(Photo: Joe Catron)

This year COGAT authorized roughly 540 Greek Orthodox Christians to travel to the occupied West Bank for Easter celebrations, out of a current population around 1,500.

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Not many Orthodox Christians in Gaza. I was glad to see the young blond girl who — if Palestinian as I suppose — is a reminder that Palestine was a (military) invqasion/meeting place over many, many centuries, including north European Crusaders way back when.

With all the Christian churches of every stripe dotting America, how many know anything at all about what’s happened to Christian natives under Israeli control for so many decades?

Those kids are precious.

With all the Christian churches of every stripe dotting America, how many know anything at all about what’s happened to Christian natives under Israeli control for so many decades? The Christians in Israel proper are doing well, for their circumstances http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9sY6jg5t68 http://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_21321-1522-2-30.pdf?101208143510 In some areas, they outperform both Israeli Jews… Read more »

@Joe, are you aware of the property boom in Gaza? The presenter of a Channel Four documentary about Gaza has said that the local population would not recognize the portrayal of the area in much of the UK media as war-torn. Seyi Rhodes travelled to the Gaza Strip in February… Read more »