Jerusalem received the Easter miracle-the rebirth of religious gatherings for the first time this week, thanks to active vaccination efforts, which led to a sharp drop in COVID cases.
Thousands of people marched on the streets of Good Friday in the Christian Quarter of the Old City, where marchers traced the last step before Jesus was crucified.
As people crossed the replica cross in the narrow corridor, the masked crowd stood shoulder to shoulder.
“We are more hopeful that the situation will become more hopeful,” said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Apostle Administrator. “The message of Easter is life and love. Despite all signs of death, corona, pandemic, etc., we believe in the power of love and life.”
When the pandemic started, Easter church services were cancelled in Jerusalem and many parts of the world last year.
Something normal has returned to Israel, where more than half of the population has been vaccinated.
Despite this, the indoor Easter service still has capacity restrictions, requires masks, and foreigners still need special permits to enter the country, which hinders tourism.
“It still feels abnormal,” said Hagop Karakashian, the owner of a famous ceramic shop in the old town. “The locals can celebrate, yes. But there is still something missing.”