Jerusalem (Associated Press)-Christians in the Holy Land are celebrating Good Friday this year because there are signs that the coronavirus crisis is fading. Religious places are only open to a limited number of believers, but usually before Easter before Holy Week , No pilgrims carry out large-scale pilgrimages. .
The virus is still raging in the Philippines, France, Brazil As well as other predominantly Christian countries/regions, believers celebrate the second annual Holy Week under different movement restrictions in the outbreak of more contagious viruses.
Last year, Jerusalem was severely blockedThe small group of priests usually observe the sacred ceremony after closing the door. This is very different from the past few years, when thousands of pilgrims will land on the holy land in the city.
This year, Franciscan monks in brown robes led hundreds of believers down Via Dolorosa, tracing the last steps of Jesus, while using loudspeakers on the cross on the cross Recite prayers. Another group carried a large wooden cross along the route through the old city, sang hymns, and stopped to pray.
“We must pray for those who cannot be here,”
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is built where Christians believe that Jesus was crucified, died and rose from the dead, and is open to tourists wearing masks and social distancing.
“Things are open, but be cautious and gradual,” said Wadie Abunassar, an advisor to the leaders of the Holy Land Church. “Usually, we urge people to come out. Last year, we told people to stay at home… this year, We remain silent in silence.”
Israel launched one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in the world, allowing Israel to reopen restaurants, hotels and religious sites. However, air travel is still subject to quarantine and other restrictions, discouraging foreign pilgrims who usually travel through Jerusalem during Holy Week.
The main holy site is in the Old City of East Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel along with the West Bank in the 1967 war. Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and regards the entire city as its unified capital, while the Palestinians hope that both territories can become their future state.
Israel included Palestinian residents of Jerusalem in its vaccination campaign, but provided only a small amount of vaccine to the occupied West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority imported tens of thousands of doses of vaccine, and more than 2.5 million people received it.
In neighboring Lebanon, Christians observe Good Friday during the coronavirus lockdown and severe economic crisis The situation was exacerbated by the massive explosion that destroyed parts of the capital last year. Even traditional Easter desserts are a luxury that few people can afford.
Majida Al Asaily, the owner of a candy store in Beirut, said: “People are not even talking about this feast.” “Despite the war and other difficulties, we have not seen an experience like this year.” .”
Pope Francis started Good Friday and visited the COVID-19 vaccination center in the Vatican. In the past week, volunteers injected about 1,200 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech into the poor and disadvantaged people in Rome at the center. vaccine.
The Vatican City State purchased its own vaccines, vaccinated the employees of the Holy See and their families, and has been distributing excess supplies to the homeless. The masked Francis posed for pictures with some volunteers and recipients in the Vatican Audience Hall.
Later on Friday, Francis will host the Way of Cross parade in an almost empty St. Peter’s Square, instead of the popular torch ceremony usually celebrated at the Colosseum .
In France, a nationwide curfew at 7pm is forcing the diocese to advance the daytime Good Friday ceremonies because the traditional Catholic night parade is being sharply reduced or cancelled. There are 19 departments in France under partial lockdown. If the parishioners sign the government’s “travel certificate”, they can participate in the daytime mass.
Notre Dame de Paris, which was hit by the fire, will not hold Good Friday Mass this year, but the cathedral’s “crown of thorns” will be honored by the clergy of the cathedral at a new temporary service in the nearby Saint-Germain-Auxerre church.
In Spain, there will be no traditional parades for the second year in a row, and churches will limit the number of believers. Many dioceses use video streaming services to go online with masses and prayers.
In the Philippines, the streets are very quiet, and religious gatherings are prohibited in the capital Manila and four remote provinces. Busy to contain the shocking surge in COVID-19 cases, this week the government relocked more than 25 million prosperous areas.
The Philippines has begun to reopen, hoping to breathe life into a troubled economy, but the infection rate surged last month, apparently due to more contagious pressure, increased public mobility and complacency.
In Kenya, all churches have been ordered to close as part of the ban on large gatherings to curb the worsening of the epidemic. In any case, Joseph Karinga went to the church and prayed in a garden near Mary outside the shutters.
He said: “I will only say my rosary here, and then go home.”
Associated Press writers Zeina Karam, Roman Nicole Winfield, Thomas Adamson of Leeds, England; Aritz Parra of Madrid and Jim Gomez of Manila, Philippines. contribution.