Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter Sunday
Millions of Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter Sunday, but many have been urged to observe the commemoration of Christ’s resurrection from their homes rather than their usual places of worship amid attempts to get the COVID pandemic under control.
According to the US population, there are more than 260 million Orthodox Christians Pew Research Center.
Some churches streamed live services from empty places of worship, while others were open to worshipers.
In Israel, hundreds of Orthodox Christians gathered in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The site is revered as the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection and this year’s gathering was much larger than the last as the country’s coronavirus restrictions have been relaxed, according to Reuters.
In Russia, many worshipers attended mass in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow wearing a mask, but President Vladimir Putin came to the ceremony unmasked, RFE / RL reported.
Orthodox Patriarch Kirill expressed the hope that the pandemic would end soon. “This Easter is special, and its special nature is in the hope that the curse of the pandemic will pass and give us some important lessons,” Kirill told state media. After all, COVID-19 “will leave us forever.”
Orthodox pilgrims in Ethiopia attended Easter Eve celebrations on Saturday at one of the churches in Lalibela, located in the north of the country, where Reuters correspondents were present.
Reuters posted a video taken Sunday in the rock-cut St. Mary church showing people attending an Easter service. Most of the worshipers in the video were not wearing masks. According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the country has so far reported 258,062 cases of infection and 3,709 deaths.
The churches in Lalibela are a major tourist attraction and have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978.
Christians in Western churches celebrated Easter on April 4 last month.
The Orthodox and Western churches have different dates for the celebrations because they use different calendars.
Orthodox churches still use the Julian calendar, while Western churches use the Gregorian calendar.