Eastern Orthodox Christian pilgrims marched through the streets of Jerusalem Old City to commemorate Jesus' crucifixion.

Eastern Orthodox churches, which follow the Julian calendar, celebrate Easter a week later than their anglican counterparts.

Thousands of pilgrims from Cyprus, Greece, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt and Ethiopia headed to Jerusalem to mark the event.

This year the Israel Ministry Interior said that more than 2,000 Coptic Christian from Egypt went to Jerusalem to celebrate Easter.

The Coptic pope, Shenouda III, who died im March, had banned visiting Israel to protest against the 1979 peace agreement between the two countries. He said at that Christians should visit the country only after it makes peace with Palestine.

For many Copts, visiting the Holy Land, and Jerusalem in particular, is one of the most meaningful acts of faith they can perform.

Led by Palestinian guards in black costumes embroidered with gold, as well as monks and clerics, the pilgrims attended church services before marching through the old city's streets, some wearing traditional clothes.

On their way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site believed to be the location of the tomb of Jesus, they sang songs and carried images of him.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, meanwhile, were marking the last day of Passover, and mixed with the pilgrims while on their way to synagogues and the Western Wall.

On Saturday, worshippers were expected to gather around the inner sanctum in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for the "Holy Fire" ceremony.