One day I was walking into the Old City, intending to go
to the Kotel, and upon coming in through the Jaffa Gate I saw two lines of
monks waiting for something. I asked what was up and a monk informed me that
the new general abbot of the Order of Saint Francis was coming to Jerusalem.
His name is Jose Rodrigez Carvadjo, A Spanish monk who was recently made
head of the entire order of the Franciscans.
Now, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is notably not controlled by any one
Christian sect. It is shared by the Catholic Franciscan order, the Orthodox
Patriate of Jerusalem, and the Armenian patriarchy. Different groups run
different Masses on different days, and there are very clear boundaries of
authority. So when the head of the Franciscan order wants to come to Jerusalem,
he is led in by a procession led by a man with a tall cross which is banged
against the stone floor of the Via Dolorosa on the way in to announce the
Franciscan presence, though he walks in side-by-side with the heads of the
The procession started in the Armenian quarter just inside the Jaffa Gate
and ended in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the Christian Quarter.
The heads of the Orthodox Patriarchy in Jerusalem
Everyone in Israel has a cell phone. Everyone.
This monk (who's name I didn't catch) is actually from Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
He noticed me because I was wearing
my Brown University hat and we had a very brief conversation. He asked me
how things were on Thayer Street.
Franciscan robes in the breeze, with rosary.
For some reason, this monk (on the right) looks like my friend Santo
Franciscan monks (recognizable for their brown robes and white rope belts)
The scene as I entered through Jaffa Gate
The Armenian monks are recognizable for their triangular black hats, which
symbolize Mount Ararat, which
is the mountain where Noah's ark landed, and is in Armenia. The Orthodox
monks wear black robes and flat hats.
The Franciscans assigned to lead the procession with the cross
A lot of monks had cameras and took photos or videos of the event
These are the ceremonial guards assigned to performs these duties for the
church. They are
not clergymen, but Christian Arabs who perform this one task.
The ceremonial guards chatting in their costumes
Asian nuns waiting for the procession to start
Just an average day in the Old City - Arabs and Nuns hang around the square
The Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem waits
Traffic in the Armenian Quarter
It was very windy that day.
There was some security, though not much
The crowd around the general as he is embraced by the abbot of the Franciscans
of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
The cross at the head of the procession as it heads down into the Christian
The general (marked with a red arror) walking in the procession
The new general of the Franciscans, next to the Armenian Patriarch (with
the pointed hat)
The general and two other Franciscans. The green arrow points to the Orthodox
The procession continues, with the many walks of Christian clergy life
The backs of the heads of the Orthodox (right and middle) and Armenian (left)
I got right behind them. There wasn't a ton of security.
The procession, led by the cross, enters the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
The general (on the left) is adorned with the white vestments in front of
the stone where Jesus' body was washed
One of the heads of the Franciscans, in prayer
After visiting the station of the Cross where Jesus' body was washed, the
new general went into the tomb of Jesus for a few minutes alone. Here the
Franciscan tomb guards wait for him to emerge.
The general, cleaning his glasses in front of the tomb of Jesus
Some Franciscan gives a speech welcoming the general (red arrow). It was
in Latin, so excuse me
for being unable to give a summary.