- May 26, 2020
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem will open on Sunday for the first time in two months.
When the Israeli Ministry of Health asked St. Joseph’s Hospital to set up a coronavirus unit, the hospital had it completed within a week.
A handful of Eastern Orthodox priests held mass for the Christian holiday of Easter on Sunday in an empty Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem due to restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
For Orthodox Christians, this is normally a time of reflection and mourning followed by joyful release, of centuries-old ceremonies steeped in symbolism and tradition. But this year, Easter — by far the most significant religious holiday for the world’s roughly 300 million Orthodox — has essentially been cancelled.
Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said being unable to attend Mass in a community has made people realize how much they miss “celebrating the love that conquers every death.”
The Israeli government approved a tight quarantine of several areas of Jerusalem on Sunday, including the historic Old City, in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the city’s most susceptible neighborhoods.