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easter week

Pope Francis was pictured lying on the floor during Good Friday service in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

Presiding over his first Easter week as pope, Pope Francis lay prostrate, praying to God before the famous church’s alter atop a rug with his arms resting on a pillow.

The position of worship was adopted as he led the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion in Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Pope Francis will later lead a candlelit procession around the Colosseum as part of the Way of the Cross ceremony.

Pope Francis lying on the floor during Good Friday service in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

Pope Francis lying on the floor during Good Friday service in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican

The symbolic walk around one of Rome’s most well-known landmarks, commemorates Jesus’s final walk through the streets of Jerusalem while carrying the cross.

After being elected as pontiff following a secret conclave in the Vatican City earlier this month, Pope Francis has garnered attention for his humility and willingness to break from tradition.

Yesterday, on Maundy Thursday, the Pope visited a prison to wash and kiss the feet of convicted criminals.

The pontiff held a major Easter Week service at Casal del Marmo young offenders’ prison in Rome – the first Holy Thursday service outside St Peter’s Basilica or the Basilica of Saint John Lateran.

Speaking to 50 inmates, he said: ‘I’m happy to be with you. Don’t give up hope.’

The foot washing on Maundy Thursday echoes a New Testament passage in which Jesus honors his 12 disciples before his Crucifixion.

Pope Francis has carried out similar ceremonies in Argentinean jails.

In a first for a Pope, he also attended to the feet of two woman prisoners. Several of the 12 were also Muslim.

Pope Francis already has officials on the back foot with his lack of regard for protocol.

He has insisted he will not live in the lavish Papal apartment, a 12-room property on the top floor of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

On seeing the apartment, Pope Francis said: “But there is room for 300 people in here.”

Instead, Pope Francis has chosen a modest two-bedroom hotel-style residence at the Domus Santa Marta building.

The newly-elected Pope has also signaled that he wants to lead the church in a direction that priorizes care for the most disadvantaged in society.

At a mass in St Peter’s Basilica on Maundy Thursday, Pope Francis told priests: “We need to go out… to the outskirts where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters.”

Those who do not, the Pope said, “become merely dealers in antiques and collectibles, instead of pastors, ending up dissatisfied and sad”.

His first papal Holy Week will culminate with an Easter Sunday “Urbi et Orbi” – an address to the City of Rome and the world.

Thousands of Catholics are expected to flock to St. Peter’s Square for the first Jesuit and South American pope’s address.

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