- Title: Jerusalem's Sepulchre church eerily empty as virus keeps worshippers at home
- Date: 22nd March 2020
- Summary: JERUSALEM (MARCH 22, 2020) (REUTERS) PRAYERS AT THE HOLY SEPULCHRE CHURCH VARIOUS OF PRIESTS PRAYING ARCHBISHOP PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA, APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATOR OF THE LATIN PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM, LEADING SUNDAY MASS IN THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE
- Keywords: Health Holy Sepulchre Israel Jerusalem Palestinians christians church coronavirus
- Reuters ID: LVA001C64U8UF
- Location: JERUSALEM
- City: JERUSALEM
- Country: Jerusalem
- Duration: 00:00:29
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: A small number of faithful gathered on Sunday at Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered as the site of Jesus' crucifixion and burial, as clergy held modest prayer sessions to help fight the spread of coronavirus.
Religious chants echoed through the ancient church's dim passageways interspersed with candle-lit prayer chambers and grottos. But only a few were on hand to hear it, a stark contrast to the crowds of Christian pilgrims who normally attend in the lead-up to the Easter holiday.
The church, in Jerusalem's walled Old City, has said worshippers should not enter in groups of more than 10 and ought to maintain a distance of at least two metres between each other.
Other sacred sites across the Holy Land have ordered similar precautions, including the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth and in Bethlehem, revered as Jesus' birthplace. The Church of the Nativity has shut down entirely.
Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site, has limited Friday prayers to the open outdoor areas of the mosque compound - one of the most sensitive spots in the Middle East - which Muslims refer to as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews call the Temple Mount.
At the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism where Jews are allowed to pray, religious authorities have instructed the faithful to refrain from holding mass prayers and from kissing the stones of the ancient wall which abuts the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary complex.
(Production: Ammar Awad, Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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