Pope Francis skips 'Way of Cross' ceremony before Easter

Pope Francis skips 'Way of Cross' ceremony before Easter

Vatican says last minute cancelation 'to preserve his health’

By Baris Seckin

ROME (AA) - Pope Francis canceled his participation in the traditional "Way of the Cross" ceremony in Rome before the Easter holiday "to preserve his health," according to a statement.

On "Good Friday," celebrated as the resurrection of Jesus in the Christian faith, the "Way of the Cross" ceremony, typically presided over by the pope in front of the Colosseum, was again conducted this year without the presence of the pope.

Moments before the ceremony that commemorates the last moments of Jesus before his crucifixion, France canceled.

His absence from the ceremony, where extensive security measures were taken due to his expected attendance, led to the removal of a chair he would have sat in.

"To preserve his health until the Easter Eve ceremony tomorrow and the Easter Sunday ceremony, Pope Francis will follow the ‘Way of the Cross’ ceremony at the Colosseum from the Santa Marta residence," according to the statement from the Vatican Press Office.

Francis attended a ceremony Thursday commemorating Jesus at the Vatican before the "Way of the Cross" ritual.

The pope missed the "Way of the Cross" ceremony due to a respiratory infection.

Due to various health issues, the 87-year-old pope, who frequently visited the hospital last year, has been using a wheelchair and a cane in recent years due to knee problems.

In the past few weeks, Francis has delegated his speeches to aides due to bronchitis and a cold.

Pope Francis skips 'Way of Cross' ceremony before Easter

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