RELIGION
03/31/2018 10:48 am ET

Christian Devotees Around The World Re-Enact Jesus' Crucifixion

Since medieval times, Christians have prepared for Easter with dramatic retellings of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Easter is a pivotal moment within the Christian liturgical calendar. It marks the end of Lent, a period of 40 days of penance, fasting and contemplation. On Easter, Christians commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, an event they believe precipitates God’s victory over death and sin.

Since medieval times, Christians have prepared for Easter by participating in passion plays, dramatic retellings of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The plays often take viewers through the events of Holy Week. 

On Palm Sunday, Christians believe Jesus was joyously welcomed into Jerusalem. Days later, on Holy Thursday, also called Maundy Thursday, the scriptures say he celebrated his last meal with his disciples and instituted the practice of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. Good Friday marks the day Jesus was crucified and three days later, on Easter Sunday, Christians believe he was resurrected. 

Some Jewish organizations have criticized passion plays for perpetuating the false notion that Jewish people were responsible for the crucifixion. Since 1965, the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian denominations have taken steps to correct these problematic, anti-Semitic interpretations of the events of Holy Week.

This year, Easter falls on April 1 and Christians have already started performing in public passion plays to help retell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. 

Scroll down to see passion play productions in eight cities around the world ― from London to Bangalore.

  • London, The United Kingdom
    Actor James Burke-Dunsmore playing Jesus performs in "The Passion of Jesus" at Trafalgar Square in London, Britain, March 30,
    Hannah Mckay / Reuters
    Actor James Burke-Dunsmore playing Jesus performs in "The Passion of Jesus" at Trafalgar Square in London, Britain, March 30, 2018. 
  • Hannah Mckay / Reuters
  • Hannah Mckay / Reuters
  • Hannah Mckay / Reuters
  • Hannah Mckay / Reuters
  • Imotski, Croatia
    Actors perform a scene from a "Passion of Christ" play to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Palm Sunday in Imots
    Antonio Bronic / Reuters
    Actors perform a scene from a "Passion of Christ" play to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Palm Sunday in Imotski, Croatia, March 25, 2018. 
  • Antonio Bronic / Reuters
  • Antonio Bronic / Reuters
  • Antonio Bronic / Reuters
  • Attard, Malta
    Actors interpret the scene of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane during an interactive street-theater Passion play
    Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters
    Actors interpret the scene of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane during an interactive street-theater Passion play "Il-Mixja" (The Way), one of a series of Holy Week activities in the run-up to Easter, on the grounds of Mount Carmel Mental Hospital in Attard, Malta, March 25, 2018. 
  • Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters
  • Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters
  • Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters
  • Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters
  • Sicily, Italy
    Actors reenact a scene from a passion play at the SantIsidoro Church in Palermo, Sicily, on March 29, 2018. 
    NurPhoto via Getty Images
    Actors reenact a scene from a passion play at the SantIsidoro Church in Palermo, Sicily, on March 29, 2018. 
  • NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Manila, The Philippines
    An actor playing as Jesus Christ cries during a scene a Senakulo, or passion play. The performance was held outside the Manil
    SOPA Images via Getty Images
    An actor playing as Jesus Christ cries during a scene a Senakulo, or passion play. The performance was held outside the Manila Cathedral in the Philippines.
  • SOPA Images via Getty Images
  • Actors perform a passion play in Manila.
    SOPA Images via Getty Images
    Actors perform a passion play in Manila.
  • Hyderabad , India
    Indian Catholic devotees re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at The Saint Joseph's Church in Hyderabad, India, on March
    NOAH SEELAM via Getty Images
    Indian Catholic devotees re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at The Saint Joseph's Church in Hyderabad, India, on March 30, 2018.
  • NOAH SEELAM via Getty Images
  • Bangalore, India
    An Indian actor dressed as Jesus Christ prepares before re-enacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ during a Passion play on
    MANJUNATH KIRAN via Getty Images
    An Indian actor dressed as Jesus Christ prepares before re-enacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ during a Passion play on Good Friday in Bangalore on March 30, 2018. 
  • MANJUNATH KIRAN via Getty Images
  • MANJUNATH KIRAN via Getty Images
  • MANJUNATH KIRAN via Getty Images
  • Sopot, Poland
    A passion play takes place in Sopot, Poland, on March, 24, 2018.
    NurPhoto via Getty Images
    A passion play takes place in Sopot, Poland, on March, 24, 2018.
  • NurPhoto via Getty Images
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