Pope Presides at Good Friday Amid High Security


Police imposed intense security around Rome, including banning small aircraft from flying over the city, for fear of a possible terror attack during the Easter ceremonies. Even nuns who came to worship had their bags and clothes checked.

Thousands converged on the Colosseum for the traditional Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) service to commemorate Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. The pope sat on a white throne on the Palatine hill overlooking the arena and a huge cross was lit with candles.

In remembrance of the March 11 Madrid train bombs which killed 191 people, one of those chosen to bear the cross during the service was a young woman from Spain’s capital.

Italy, which has been on high alert since the Madrid attacks, further stepped up security at the start of Easter celebrations five days ago. Police are guarding hundreds of sites.