Around the world, Christians have observed Good Friday, which they believe was the day Jesus was crucified.
Sitting on a chair on the Palatine Hill just opposite Rome’s Colosseum and often kneeling to pray, Pope Francis listened intently as meditations inspired by the 14 “stations of the cross” were read to the crowd of thousands holding candles.
Pairs of immigrants, prisoners, homeless, disabled, former drug addicts and others alternated carrying a large cross between each of the stations which describe the last hours in the life of Jesus.
Next Sunday Francis will canonise Pope John Paul II second and Pope John XXIII.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected in Rome. It will be the first time two popes are made saints at the same time and the first canonisation of a pope since 1954.