The followers of three world religions celebrate this April important days: the Jews Passover, Christians Easter, and the Muslims — the beginning of the Holy month of Ramadan. Thousands of years in these days of mass the faithful gathered for worship, visiting relatives and friends, exchanging greetings and treats. But this year things will be different, the BBC reports.
For many Christians and Jews, the centre of the celebrations was to become Jerusalem.
The first day of the celebration of Passover this year — April 8th. Shortly thereafter — 12 APR — Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans, Armenians, and several other branches of Christianity celebrate Easter. A week later, on April 19, celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, Orthodox Christians, and Copts.
In each of those days on the streets of Jerusalem usually comes out to 30,000 pilgrims, but today the city is empty.
“This week — crucial”
The Israeli authorities imposed a strict quarantine. From 7 to 12 April in the country do not operate public transport. Discontinued air service to foreign countries. Exceptions are only granted with special permission of the Minister of transport.
From 8 PM of April until the following morning in Israel was forbidden even to leave the house to the street — was under curfew.
“This week is crucial, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, explaining the introduced measures — It is crucial because in constant struggle with the coronavirus these days will determine the direction. Advance or retreat, and for many — life or death.”
Such strict measures, the Israeli authorities went, having studied the experience of a month ago. Then people, following the tradition, gathered by large companies and families to celebrate Purim. Thereafter, doctors noted a sharp increase in the number of those infected with the coronavirus. Netanyahu promised he would not allow such a scenario during the celebration of Passover.
Restrictions — though slightly less stringent, continue to operate after the first day of the holiday.
Until April 10, was forbidden the movement of all vehicles inside the cities. Now residents are allowed to leave the house at a distance of not more than 100 meters only to go to the pharmacy or store. An exception is made for those who goes in an emergency or engaged in vital areas.
Not all Orthodox Jews supported the actions of the authorities. Israeli police reported that several synagogues in Jerusalem, they had to close by force. All gathered there were issued fines.
“Sneaking in through the postern gate”
Because of restrictions imposed by Israel under the threat of failure could be important for Orthodox Christians is the ceremony of the Holy fire.
Traditionally, it takes place on Holy Saturday in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem with a huge crowd of people — in recent years, the temple has gathered more than 20 thousand people. Immediately after the service the lamps with a particularly revered by fire were taken away by special flight to Russia, Greece, Serbia, Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and other countries.
“Now the gates of the Holy Sepulchre shut tight. To worship where we make our way through the different the postern gate,” said bi-Bi-si that the deacon of the temple of Jerusalem Alexander Zanemonets.
Subject to the requirements of the authorities, the priests closed the temple for the congregation at the end of March. But the priests and the deacons conducted services in a small circle, reminding some of them via the Internet.
On a special scheme
At the ceremony of the Holy fire this year will be no more than 20 people, sacristan and several employees of the Church, several Orthodox priests, hierarchs of the Armenian and Coptic churches, as well as the crew, which will broadcast the ceremony of the descent of the fire for viewers around the world.
In order to safely transmit the lamps with fire in other countries, the Israeli foreign Ministry has proposed the following scheme:
“After the service the priest will take a lamp with the fire on the square in front of the temple, where they will be welcomed by representatives of several embassies. They, in turn, will deliver the lamps with fire in the airport Ben-Gurion. We have received applications and coordinated the arrival of aircraft from 10 different countries. Their representatives will have to remain on Board, to avoid the compulsory for all arriving in Israel a two-week quarantine. Representatives of the embassies raise the lamps with a fire on Board and the planes can fly,” explained bi-Bi-si the head of the Department of Diaspora Affairs and world religions Ministry of foreign Affairs of Israel Akiva tor.
Father Alexander says that this procedure did not cause disturbances neither he nor other Ministers of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
“If such steps will help to maintain someone’s health, I think they are important and justified. We accept and follow the requirements of the Israeli authorities,” said the priest.
In a similar format will be held the festive divine service of the churches of the Western tradition of April 12 — on this day celebrate Easter Catholics, Protestants and Anglicans. At the service in Jerusalem will not allow more than ten priests and a few journalists to conduct a broadcast.
In the Cathedral of St. Peter in Rome is expected a similar pattern.
All the services of Holy week in the Vatican are held without the participation of the congregation. In past years the week before Easter, the Pope made one of its services in jail or in the hospital — this year this practice has been abolished.
St. Peter’s square, which is usually at Easter fill tens of thousands of believers, this time will be empty. The Pontiff will address to the faithful remotely.
Pope Francis said that trying to pray more often these days. All employees in the Vatican changed the schedule of their work and are now working in shifts to comply with the necessary social distance. All meetings are held via video link.
In Milan, the city that was the epicenter of the epidemic in Italy — for the believers will perform with tenor Andrea Bocelli. On Easter Sunday, he will perform religious hymns in an empty Cathedral city. The performance will be broadcast live on YouTube. Bocelli told reporters that this is his prayer for Milan and for the whole world this painful, tragic and troubling.
Because of confession and the sacrament of the parishioners is now impossible, the Holy see has decided to grant absolution to all Catholics who contracted the coronavirus, their family, their attending physicians and all who care for them and is at risk for infection for the sake of helping others.
This decision was made at the end of March of the Apostolic penitentiary, the office for the issuance of indulgences.
The paper reported that the sins will also be released to all dying Catholics who are unable to confess because of the quarantine, if they want and if they are in your life regularly spoke at least some prayers.
Polish Prelate, arhiepiskop Wojciech Pole separately called on the faithful not to violate the isolation for the holidays.
“Perhaps, we begin to experience anger, impatience, a kind of apathy or, God forbid, despair. We must not give in to those feelings, ‘ said the priest. — You can’t put your life and the lives of others danger.”
In Poland, as in most other European countries, believers will not be able to bless traditional Easter food in temples. In the Church said that in this case the holiday table needs to bless with prayer by the head of the family.
The Christians of Greece celebrating Easter, like all Orthodox, April 19, also will be forced to watch the Easter service at home. Authorities have imposed severe restrictions on the movement of people until April 27.
Cops do regular checks on the roads. Travel between the cities is allowed only in case if the person returns to their permanent place of residence.
The Holy Synod of the state Church of Greece, the Greek Archdiocese has decided to postpone the solemn vigil service of Easter on the day of giving this holiday — in the night from 26 to 27 may.
April 12, Easter will be celebrated by the Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC).
In Armenia state of emergency in connection with the coronavirus was announced in mid-March, and the clergy began to hold services behind closed doors, and the congregation in Armenia and in the Diaspora — watch live broadcasts on the pages of their temples in Facebook.
Worship of the spiritual center of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Etchmiadzin with the participation of Catholicos of all Armenians Karekin II, broadcast on the official website of the Armenian Church.
In Russia, everything is ambiguous
Easter celebration in parishes of the Orthodox Church in Russia will take place exactly. But exactly how will be treated, will depend on the specific epidemiological situation in each region of Russia, said Bi-bi-si, the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate.
How the Russian Church will celebrate Easter on April 19, will depend on the specific epidemiological situation in each region of Russia, said earlier bi-Bi-si, the Deputy head of the Church Department for relations with mass media Vakhtang Kipshidze.
“Easter is! The Easter was celebrated during the plague, wars and other disasters, will celebrate her now,” said the head of Department on interaction with mass media Vladimir Legoyda.
29 Mar Patriarch Kirill during the sermon in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior has called all Orthodox Christians to visit the temple to a special Patriarchal blessing, and not to listen to priests who are opposed to quarantine measures.
The Muslim Holy month of Ramadan this year will start on 23 or 24 April. Apparently, pandemic coronavirus will change the normal rules and those who profess Islam.
According to tradition, during Ramadan the believers completely refuse food and drink from dawn to dusk. Usually, after sunset many Muslims rush to the mosque for prayer, and after her stay for a shared meal.
This year’s mass gatherings in mosques and common dinners will surely be banned in many countries.
But the Muslims of Britain, for example, seems to have found a way out. Well-known local project “Tent of Ramadan” before, organized a collective iftar that is the meal after sunset, in any well-known place in London — for example, in Trafalgar square. Project participants put tents and invited everyone to join the feast.
This year, adapting to the circumstances, they decided to have a virtual iftar: believers receive parcels, which will be booklets with recipes, tips, and games for children. And to gather the Muslims will be via video conferencing in the Zoom application.
Activists of the “Tent of Ramadan” we are going to organize similar meetings throughout the Muslim Holy month.
During Ramadan, many believers have sought to fulfill another order of Islam is to make a pilgrimage to the Holy sites in Mecca and Medina. But this year, Saudi Arabia closed these places for pilgrims.
Many of those who recently traveled to the Holy places, try to observe the regime of self-isolation. But not all.
In Kyrgyzstan, for example, received wide publicity cases where returning is not only restricted to my contacts, but on the contrary, invited friends and relatives for a big feast.
According to tradition, returned from Hajj aji arrange the celebration in honor of the successful pilgrimage. On one of these holidays returning pilgrim was invited over 150 people, ignoring the injunction to be in isolation. Then it became known that he had coronavirus. In the end, became infected several guests, including the doctor of local hospital.
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