A stunning procession has made its way through the heart of Croydon as the crucifixion of Jesus was re-enacted today.
Churches from across the borough came together to re-live Christ’s torture and execution.
The traditional Good Friday gathering culminated in a symbolic crucifixion while a choir sung devotional hymns.
It was all part of the Croydon Churches Walk of Witness.
The climax to the religious procession took place outside the Whitgift Almshouses after the iconic cross had been dragged up North End from Poplar Walk.
True to the Biblical accounts in the Gospels the volunteer saviour was whipped and beaten, and paraded through the streets bearing the burden of the cross.
Approaching the Almshouses he was strung up in mock crucifixion, in front of the gathered crowd while musicians and clergy explained the story through song and sermon.
Croydon’s very own tradition follows Easter “Passion plays” which would have been performed all over the country in past centuries, and which still continue in many places across the world.
Easter is the holiest time of year in the Christian calendar. The moveable feast – the dates of Easter shift depending on the patterns of the moon – celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The recreation in Croydon is meant to display Christ’s act of sacrifice, and it drew a crowd of the religious and the curious to the violent spectacle.
Performers in the Passion play were dressed in black, standing out against the white robes of the man playing Jesus.
The play begins with Jesus being sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate. He is then stripped and whipped by Roman soldiers.
A crown of thorns is placed on his head to mock his claim of being “King of the Jews”.
After struggling under the weight of the cross, he falls several times before finally reaching the place of execution.
He is crucified between two criminals, with a stream of final words including “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”, before finally dying on the cross.
But for Christians this is the beginning, as on Easter Sunday Jesus was said to have risen from his tomb.