FROM A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
FOR the first time in 20 years Easter and the Passover are being celebrated side by side in the old and new quarters of Jerusalem this year and the ancient city has been filling with pilgrims and tourists.
The face of the Old City has changed little since the June war. The processions today and on Palm Sunday will proceed precisely as they did in the past. The only difference is that Israeli instead of Jordanian policemen will maintain order in the streets.
The Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre look much as they did last year. But a careful observer will note the Hebrew street signs, the Israeli groceries on sale in the shops and an occasional Star of David in red paint on an Old City wall. Last year about 10,000 took part in the celebrations, and a similar number is expected this year. Today, as on every Friday of the year. the Franciscan Friars will lead a procession along the Way of the Cross to Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
They will intone prayers in Latin and Italian. followed by parishioners who recite their prayers in the vernacular— Arabic. Other Christian sects like the Greek Orthodox Armenians and the Copts, follow later in the day.
This procession is generally held in the afternoon, but on Good Fridays it takes place in the morning to leave room for the other groups to follow CHURCH DAMAGED This evening there will be a procession re-enacting the scene of Christ's descent from the cross and burial.
On Sunday. another procession headed by the Latin Patriarch will set out on foot from a church near the Mount of Olives overlooking the city to the beautiful Crusader Church of St. Anne's within the Walls, the only church damaged in the fighting in June.
The priests will be followed in this procession by members of other Catholic institutions and the pupils of the mission schools.
The Via Dolorosa, unlike its name, has a cheerful aspect and is a winding Oriental shopping street (or series of streets) with deeply-recessed cafes where men sit listening to Cairo and Amman radio, tattoo parlours ("Electric tattoo—all colours") and souvenir shops with mother-ofpearl crucifixes and scenes from the Passion.
The Holy Sepulchre Church has been undergoing extensive repairs for several years. In the courtyards outside the main façade is a shelter made of corrugated iron where the stonemasons sit rhythmically chipping at their work.
UNUSUAL SIGHT Yesterday. the stonemasons and carpenters put away their tools and began tidying up for the holiday.
Access to the area will probably be limited to Israelis as it was in Bethlehem at Christmas. since Israel is determined to show once again that decorum is even better preserved under present rule than it was under that of its predecessor.
And thus there will be the unusual sight of Israeli guides explaining the topography of the Crucifixion to a group of Christian pilgrims inside the Holy Sepulchre.