The effect of the Corona Virus pandemic on Easter celebrations; adherents advised following proceedings on social media.
Jerusalem saw an amazing Easter weekend as friars donning dark robes and facemasks walked along empty streets of the Old City in East Jerusalem. The extraordinary occurrence was a result of the widespread coronavirus pandemic, which seems to know no bounds. People all over the world have been advised to stay indoors and avoid public gatherings as world governments take measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
A normal Easter would have seen thousands of pilgrims join the procession that normally walks along Via Dolorosa, which is the route Jesus is believed to have walked heading to crucifixion. This year, however, doors have remained closed and streets deserted as the world panics over the quickly spreading novel coronavirus.
As churches and other centers of worship remain closed, religious leaders have been advising Christians to follow Easter proceedings online. Many church leaders have resulted in streaming live summons on Facebook, attracting audiences from all across the globe. Other leaders have also been publishing online booklets to continue spreading the word even as physical churches remain out of bounds.
Israel has so far recorded over 10,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 90 confirmed deaths. Two more people are also reported to have died in Palestine, which has reported 260 confirmed cases. As a result, both Israel and Palestine have closed borders to foreigners and shut down religious sites.
Earlier in the week, Israel had also taken extra measures to control the Jewish Passover holiday celebrations. A one-night curfew was introduced to avoid large families from gathering, which could lead to further spread of the novel coronavirus.
In Jerusalem, only Jews residing in the Old City were allowed to worship at the Western Wall. Al Aqsa mosque has also remained closed in the time being. Muslim leaders are yet to clarify if the site will be reopened as Ramadan approaches later in the month.
Christians all over the world have experienced an intense Easter as the normal celebrations ceased to be normal. The streets of the Old City have remained almost empty, with just a few souls walking around. Heavily-armed police officers wearing face masks continue to patrol the streets to ensure all measures are followed to the letter.
Many people have had different opinions concerning the year’s Easter celebrations. Some people are even claiming that perhaps the virus is a blessing in disguise. Who knows? Perhaps the opinions hold some water. Whereas in the past, many of us take life for granted, we are now finding ourselves missing even the most mundane of activities like freely strolling the streets.
Believers all over the world are now coming together in prayer and finding unity in one heart. Such spiritual unity was not easy to come by in the recent past.