JERUSALEM (AP) _ Hundreds of Greek Orthodox believers filled the courtyard of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem's Old City to watch their patriarch wash the feet of followers as part of a Holy Thursday tradition.
The ceremony was a reenactment of Jesus' act of humility when, according to Christian belief, he washed the feet of his 12 apostles.
Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theofilos III, dressed in white robes, poured soapy water from an ornate silver pitcher into a bowl. Twelve priests, selected by seniority, dipped their feet in the water and Theofilos carefully cleaned them with a white cloth.
``This is important because it shows and reminds us of the humility of Christ. It shows love toward our fellow man,'' said Archbishop Aristarchous. ``I think it's the solution to our human problems today.''
On Easter Sunday, the Orthodox Church will hold its 1,200-year-old ``holy fire'' rite in which the faithful light torches and candles from a flame that believers say is miraculously ignited. The rite also takes place at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Christians believe Jesus died on the cross.