In pictures: Thousands of Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter in Syria

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Thousands of Orthodox Christians came out to celebrate Easter across Syria, many in previously rebel-held areas where followers mark their faith’s most important festival day on 28 April, one week after fellow Christians.

The different dates arise from use of the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar. Prayers and masses were performed in churches across Syrian provinces, including Damascus, Aleppo, Hama, Hasaka, Latakia and Daraa. In Damascus, Patriarch of Antioch and All East, Supreme Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church Ignatius Aphrem II presided upon Easter mass, accompanied by Armenian Orthodox of Damascus Armash Nalbandian. In Aleppo, mass was held at St. Aphrem Church and Prophet Elias Church, while in Sweida province prayers and mass were held at St. George Church, the Good Shepherd Church, and the churches in Ura, al-Dara, al-Aslaha, al-Qarya, and Shahba. In Hama province, ceremonies were held at the Hama Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and the Evangelical Presbyterianism Church, while in Tartous ceremonies were held at the Lady Church. In Hasaka, mass and prayers were held at St. George Cathedral, while in Homs prayers and masses were held at the Lady of the Belt Church, the Jesuit Fathers Monastery, Lady of Peace Church, Al-Arbayeen Church, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and Syriac Catholic Archdiocese. Meanwhile in Lattakia, praters where held at St. Nicholas Church, St. Andrew Church, St. George the Baptist Church, the Virgin Mary Church, St. George Church, Archangels Michael and Gabriel Church, and St. Elias Church. In Daraa province, ceremonies were held at St. Geroge Church and St. Michael Church.