In Lebanon, the Christian community celebrated the beginning of Holy Week on Palm Sunday (8 April).
GV Street in Beirut PAN TO people taking photographs.
SV PAN People and priest entering church. (2 SHOTS)
SV INTERIOR People filing into school-room for Mass. (2 SHOTS)
GV & SV INTERIOR People praying during Mass. (5 SHOTS)
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Background: In Lebanon, the Christian community celebrated the beginning of Holy Week on Palm Sunday (8 April). Christians all over the world commemorate the day Christ entered Jerusalem in triumph. The solemnity of Good Friday (13 April) marks the crucifixion and Holy Week ends on Easter Sunday (15 April), with the joyful celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
SYNOPSIS: Holy Week in Lebanon last year was marred by fighting between Syrian troops and right-wing Christian militia's. A war which prompted Israel to invade southern Lebanon for what the Israelis called "the protection of the Christian community". The fighting centred around Beirut's Ain Rummaneh district, where this year Christians gathered for the Palm Sunday services.
The celebrations passed without incident, but for protection, the Christians assembled for Mass in a school-room. Their church is considered unsafe, as it is in the firing line between the warring Lebanese factions.
The Lebanese Christians are members of the Maronite Church, one of the largest Eastern - rite communities of the Roman Catholic Church. The Maronites are the only Eastern sect which has no non-Catholic or Orthodox counterpart. They trace their origins to St. Maron, a Syrian hermit of the late fourth century, and St. John Maron, under whose leadership the invading Byzantine armies of Justinian II were routed in 684 AD, when the Maronites became a fully independent people.