Pope Benedict XVI marked Good Friday in the Christian calendar by presiding over a re-enactment of Christ’s crucifixion.
The annual Via Crucis,in the grounds of Rome’s Colosseum, saw families from all over the world take turns to carry a lightweight wooden cross around the ancient site.
Pope Benedict called on those going through economic hardship to persevere: “The experience of suffering and of the cross touches all mankind. It touches the family too. These days, the situation for many families has been made worse by the threat of unemployment and other negative effects of the economic crisis.”
Thousands of people jammed the boulevard outside the Colosseum to pray with the Pontiff, who turns 85 later this month.
Meanwhile hundreds of pilgrims gathered in Jerusalem’s Old City for a similar re-enactment, following the path where Jesus walked, now known as the “Way of Suffering”.
Many people dragged or carried full-sized crosses through the streets.