Vatican City (AP)-Christians celebrate the happiest holiday in the world. On the second Easter Sunday, under the restraint of epidemic prevention measures, devout believers sat on benches, sang the chorus of “Hallelujah”, and celebrated through face masks.
From Protestant churches in South Korea to St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, believers follow national or local regulations designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In a hospital in Lombardy, Italy, where the pandemic broke out in the West in February 2020, a hospital presented a traditional dove-shaped Easter cake to express peace to everyone waiting in line to receive the COVID-1
In Jerusalem, air travel restrictions and quarantine regulations prevent foreign pilgrims from flocking to religious sites during Holy Week, which peaks during Easter celebrations.
In St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis sprinkled incense beside the icon and said: “May the joy of Easter spread throughout the world.”
The 200 or so faithful who were allowed to attend the meeting seemed lost in this huge cathedral. Usually, thousands of people will participate in this grand ceremony. Crowds will gather outside St. Peter’s Square. Sometimes more than 100,000 people will gather together to get the Pope’s special Easter after Mass. blessing.
But this year, like last year, gatherings in Italy and the Vatican are banned this year. Therefore, Francis plans to deliver his noon Easter speech on world affairs inside the cathedral.
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In order to curb a surge of infections that lasted for several weeks, the Italian government ordered people to stay at home during the three-day weekend, except for essential things such as shopping or sports. Prime Minister Draghi did give concessions. It is allowed to visit family or friends in residents’ homes every day during long weekends (including Monday’s small Easter national holiday).
In Jerusalem, the Easter ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is celebrated by the Latin Patriarch Pierbattista, a senior Roman Catholic clergyman in the Holy Land. The site of the Old City of Jerusalem is where many Christians believe that Jesus was crucified, buried and raised from the dead.
Israel launched one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in the world, allowing the country to reopen restaurants, hotels and religious sites. In the 1967 war, Israel captured the ancient city of the hometown of these three Abraham religious sacred sites and later annexed them. The international community did not realize this move.
In South Korea, Yoido Full Gospel Church is the largest Protestant church in the country. Only about 2,000 church members are allowed to participate in Easter ceremonies, accounting for about 17% of the church’s main building capacity. Members of the masked church sing hymns, clap their hands and pray, as this service has been broadcast online and on Christian TV.
Seoul’s Myeongdong Catholic Church is the largest Catholic church in South Korea, limiting public attendance to 20% and broadcasting the Easter service on YouTube.
In the Puglia region of southern Italy, the governor and many mayors urged believers to stay at home and watch “Mass” on TV. Due to the high COVID-19 infection rate, this region is one of the many regions in Italy subject to the strictest “red zone” restrictions.
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Participating in the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night is a popular practice among many Italians. But as the country imposed a curfew between 10pm and 5am, the church increased the traditional start time by several hours. The sound of church bells in Italy beckons people to unusually serve early, and in some places toll the bell before sunset.
A similar situation has occurred in France, because the terrible rise in COVID-19 cases has discouraged people, and these cases have surpassed already stressful hospitals. Due to the nationwide curfew from 7pm to 6am, some French churches hold traditional midnight Easter services before dawn on Sunday instead of Saturday night.
Associated Press reporters from all over the world contributed.