Christians mark Good Friday as some sanctuaries reopen

Jerusalem (AP) —Sacred Christians are celebrating Good Friday this year as the coronavirus crisis is nearing its end. Religious sites are open to a limited number of loyal people, but there are no large pilgrimages commonly found during Holy Week leading up to Easter. ..

The virus is still rampant Philippines, France, Brazil And in other predominantly Christian countries, worshipers have marked the Second Annual Holy Week under various movement restrictions, in an outbreak instigated by more contagious strains.

last year, Jerusalem was under a strict blockadeIn a sacred ritual observed by a small group of priests, often in a closed room. It was a complete departure from the last few years when tens of thousands of pilgrims landed on the city’s sanctuaries.

This year, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, died, and resurrected from death, is open to visitors and expects dozens of people. After the morning prayer service, they follow Jesus’ last step along Via Dolorosa.

“Things are open, but cautious and gradual,” said Wadi Abnasar, an adviser to the Church leaders of the Sanctuary. We are somehow silent. “

Israel has launched one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns, allowing restaurants, hotels and religious institutions to reopen. However, air travel is still restricted by quarantine and other restrictions, keeping foreign pilgrims who normally rush to Jerusalem during Holy Week.

The main sanctuary is in the Old City of eastern Jerusalem, which Israel occupied along with the West Bank in the 1967 war. Israel annexes East Jerusalem and sees the entire city as a unified capital, but Palestinians want both territories for future conditions.

Israel has included Palestinian residents in Jerusalem in its vaccination campaign, but the Palestinian Authority has provided vaccines to occupied West Bankers who have imported tens of thousands of vaccines to a population of more than 2.5 million. Is very few.

Israeli officials said up to 5,000 Christian Palestinians from the West Bank would be allowed to attend the Easter celebration. Abunassar said he was unaware that he was planning to join a large tour group from the West Bank, which, as in the past few years, would likely reflect concerns about the virus.

Abunassar said most Christians in the area celebrate Holy Week in their local parish. Good Friday worship in the Old Town is expected to attract a small number of people, especially priests and foreigners living in the sanctuary.

In Vatican City, Holy Week events are celebrated in front of a limited number of masked loyal people to respect COVID-19’s norms of health and social distance.

In France, the traditional Catholic night procession has been significantly reduced or canceled, and a national curfew at 7:00 pm forces parishes to proceed with Good Friday rituals that day. I am. Nineteen French provinces are in a local blockade, and parishioners can attend the daytime mass by signing a government “travel certificate.”

Despite a third blockade “light” imposed on Saturday, French President Emmanuel Macron shook the Easter weekend’s ban on travel and allowed French to travel between regions to meet their families on Friday.

Notre Dame, devastated by the fire, will not hold a Good Friday Mass this year, but the Cathedral’s Crown of Thorns is a new temporary liturgical hub at the nearby Church of Saint-Germain-Roxellois Worshiped by the person.

In the Philippines, the streets were eerily quiet, and religious rallies were banned in the capital Manila and four suburban states. This week, the government returned a busy area of ​​more than 25 million people to blockade after scrambling to contain the surprising surge in COVID-19 cases.

The Philippines has begun to reopen in hopes of halting the serious economic crisis, but infectious diseases surged last month. This is clearly due to the more contagious strains, increased public mobility and complacency.

In Australia, when actor Timothy Watkins carried a cross with a depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ during a Good Friday ritual, masked church members were in a row of socially separated chairs on the streets of Sydney. I was sitting.


Contributed by Associated Press writer Thomas Adamson of Paris, Jim Gomez of Manila, Philippines, and Kim Tong-hyun of Seoul, South Korea.