Christians mark Good Friday celebrations as COVID-19 sweeps through the world

 

Christians marked Good Friday across the world from The Holy Land to Philippines in a muted way with no mass pilgrimages or other rituals that take place before Easter. Last year, Jerusalem and other predominantly Christian countries were under lockdown. Priests carried out rituals behind closed church doors. This year there are restrictions but sacred rites are observed in almost all the predominantly Christian countries in the world.

 

Old City in East Jerusalem

 

Franciscan Friars, in their symbolic robes, led a procession of worshippers down the Via Dolorosa (Way of Suffering). Prayers were recited using loudspeakers at the Stations of the Cross.

 

A wooden cross was carried through the Old City. Worshippers sang hymns and offered prayers along the route.

 

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is allowing limited worshippers with masks and social distancing.

 

Foreigners are not allowed into Jerusalem this year but up to 5,000 Christians from Palestinians from the occupied West Bank would be allowed to enter to celebrate Easter.

 

Vatican City — Italy

 

Pope Francis visited Vatican’s COVID-19 vaccination center today. The Holy See has donated the surplus vaccines that were bought for their staff to homeless people. The masked Pope took photos with volunteers and recipients at the audience hall in the Vatican.

 

France

Parishes have moved Good Friday rituals to the day due to the 7 p.m. curfew. Traditional night processions by Catholics have been called off or scaled down.

 

Spain

 

There are no traditional processions this year as well. Churches will allow a limited number of parishioners for worship.

 

Many churches have organized online services or are streaming services through video platforms.

 

Philippines

 

Streets are quiet and religious processions are not allowed in the capital Manila and four outlying provinces.

 

Compared to the Easter celebrations last year, there has been a small improvement. Many predominantly Christian countries were in total lockdown last year and almost all the traditional rituals had gone online. This year churches are open following COVID-19 protocols and some are fortunate to attend services while other continue to participate virtually or through streaming services.

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