Believers around the world commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, praying and meditating upon His suffering for the salvation of all men as an act to defend the Gospel.
April 13 marks the Good Friday in traditional Christian calendar. According to the Bible, this is the day when Jesus was crucified on the cross and ended his 33 years long of earthly life. Evangelical Christians believe that Jesus has carried all the sins of mankind and died for them, so that they are forgiven and receive salvation.
One of the special Christian ceremonies for Good Friday is the "14 stations of the cross". Each station represents an episode of Christ's final walk as told in the gospels. In Jerusalem, thousands of Christian pilgrims from all over the world marched on the street. They paused and prayed on their knees at each of the stations.
In Rome, Pope Benedict XVI presided over the "14 stations of the cross". The 78-year-old pope carried a wooden cross at the first and last of the 14 "stations", according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
During the five-minute address at the end of the ceremony, Benedict XVI declared that Christians could not remain "neutral" when faced with the evils of the world - "the suffering of abused and abandoned children," the threat against the traditional family, the "divisions" in the world and gap between rich and poor, AFP reported.
The Vatican has also strongly condemned the upcoming film version of Da Vinci Code and the newly unveiled the Gospel of Judas, which have challenged the traditional Christian teachings, especially attacking the belief of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Father Raniero Cantalamessa, whose official title is "Preacher of the Papal Household," made his comments in a sermon during a "Passion of the Lord" service in the presence of the Pope. He several times dismissed "The Gospel of Judas," which claims that it was Christ himself who asked Judas to betray him.
Without mentioning the name "The Da Vinci Code", Cantalamessa said that people today were fascinated by "every new theory according to which he (Christ) was not crucified and did not die ... but ran off with Mary Magdalene."
Most Catholic faithfuls in other countries such as Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Columbia, have taken part in a Good Friday procession as well.
In China, a number of government-sanctioned cathedrals such as the South Cathedral in Beijing have held the "Stations of the Cross" ceremony on Good Friday. Many believers gathered and prayed.