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Enshrouded in a sunlit haze: Zion's Passion Drama and Guarding of the Tomb

Although the Passion Drama was cancelled this year, the crucifixion scene was portrayed all day Friday in front of Zion Lutheran Church in Alexandria. (Echo Press photo by Lowell Anderson)1 / 2
Roman soldiers, portrayed by Dennis Gronholz (not in picture), Greg Scott, Russ Niskanen, Clarence Rasmussen, Jeff Fassett and Scott Fassett, guarded the tomb at Zion Lutheran Church on Saturday afternoon in Alexandria. (Echo Press photo by Crystal Dey)2 / 2

As the morning fog lifted, smoke saturated the midday air on Easter Eve. Roman soldiers prepared to take a sizzling steak break during the annual Guarding of the Tomb reenactment at Zion Lutheran Church on 3rd Avenue in Alexandria.

Clarence Rasmussen manned the kettle grill, flipping and serving the crew's chow. Equipped with knives, the men were ready to eat, much like the Romans may have in the past.

Ritualistically, soldiers wore moose-hide pelts, which have been used since the beginning of Zion's production 17 years ago. Rasmussen said the helmets were donated by the Monticello marching band. It takes less than an hour for the transformation from modern man to Roman soldier to be complete.

Rasmussen's army included Dennis Gronholz, Greg Scott, Russ Niskanen, Jeff Fassett and Scott Fassett.

This year, for the first time in its 14-year history, the church's full Passion Drama was cancelled because of the weather. The drama originated with seven scenes in 1997. The crucifixion scene and the Guarding of the Tomb, however, went on as scheduled.

DeyCrystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.

Crystal Dey

Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.

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