[WATCH] Solemn Good Friday procession in Naxxar commemorates Christ's passion

Maltese and tourists alike attend Naxxar's Good Friday procession commemorating the Passion of Christ

Roman Soldiers in the Good Friday Procession
Roman Soldiers in the Good Friday Procession
Biblical symbols in the Good Friday Procession
Biblical symbols in the Good Friday Procession
Solemn Good Friday Procession in Naxxar

Hundreds flocked to Naxxar this afternoon to watch one of the Good Friday processions being held in various localities across Malta and Gozo.

A sombre mood reigned over the procession, inviting people to reflect on the Passion of Christ who was crucified to death, on order of the crowds. According to Christianity, Jesus died for people’s sins.

The Jewish high priests and elders of the Sanhedrin accused Jesus of blasphemy, arriving at the decision to put him to death. But first they needed Rome to approve of their death sentence, so Jesus was to taken to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor in Judea.

Although Pilate found him innocent, unable to find a reason to condemn Jesus, he feared the crowds and let them decide Jesus’ fate. Stirred by the Jewish chief priests, the crowds declared “crucify him!”

Jesus was publicly beaten with a leather-thonged whip before his crucifixion. A prickly crown of thorns was placed on his head and he was stripped naked.

Too weak to carry his cross, Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry it for him.

He was led to Golgotha where he would be crucified. As was the custom, before they nailed him to the cross, a mixture of vinegar, gall and myrrh was offered.

This drink was said to alleviate some of the suffering, but Jesus refused to drink it. Stake-like nails were driven through his wrists and ankles, fastening him to the cross where he was crucified between two convicted criminals.

The inscription above his head tauntingly read, "The King of the Jews." On the cross Jesus hung for his final agonizing breaths, a period that lasted about six hours. During that time, soldiers cast lots for Jesus' clothing, while people passed by shouting insults and scoffing. From the cross, Jesus spoke to his mother Mary and the disciple John. He also cried out to his father, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?"

At that point, darkness covered the land. A little later, as Jesus gave up his spirit, an earthquake shook the ground, ripping the Temple veil in two from top to bottom. Matthew's Gospel records, "The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life."