Every year, on Good Friday, thousands of pilgrims go to the Colosseum to take part in the “Via Crucis” (the Way of the Cross) to honor and remember the Passion of Jesus.
As Pope Francis overlooked the crowds of faithful, the 14 stations of the Cross were carried out by priests, friars, sisters and laypeople from different parts of the world.
The ceremony included a series of prayers to reflect on Jesus’ Passion and his message.
Leading his first Way of the Cross as Pontiff, Pope Francis said only a few words are necessary to understand God’s message
“Lord, we too carry a cross of suffering and illnesses, but we accept it because You are with us.”
Leading his first Way of the Cross as Pontiff, Pope Francis said only a few words are necessary to understand God’s message.
“Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if he is silent. And yet, God has spoken, he has replied, and his answer is the Cross of Christ: a word which is love, mercy, forgiveness.”
The Cross was carried by families from India and another from Italy. There was an ill person on a wheelchair and also people from countries were Christians are often persecuted.
A group of Catholics from Lebanon helped organize the reflections and meditations that were read during the ceremony. They made reference to the daily challenges Christians face in some regions, especially in the Middle East, for practicing their faith.
Rome’s world famous Colosseum is now around 40 cm (16 inches) lower on the south side than on the north.
Concerned authorities are investigating whether it needs urgent repairs, after experts noticed the incline about a year ago.
Rossella Rea, director at the 2,000-year-old monument, revealed in Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Sunday that officials have been monitoring it for the past few months.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, another of the country’s most popular attractions, was reopened in 2001 after being shut for more than a decade as engineers worked to prevent it from falling over and to make it safe for visitors.
Rome's world famous Colosseum is now around 40 cm (16 inches) lower on the south side than on the north
Restorers’ efforts to clean off centuries of grime from the Tuscan landmark helped stabilize the historical building by removing soil from beneath one side of its foundations.
“The slab of concrete on which the Colosseum rests, which is like a 13-metre (yard)-thick oval doughnut, may have a fracture inside it,” he told the newspaper.
He said intervention along the lines of the stabilization work carried out in Pisa could be necessary if the concerns are confirmed, but he added that it was too early to judge what kind of intervention would be most suitable.
The Colosseum – famous for hosting bloody gladiator fights in the days of the Roman Empire – attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists and is usually packed with visitors.