Christians mark Good Friday in Jerusalem amid COVID-19 vaccination


Christians across nations are marking Good Friday in honour of the death of Jesus Christ. The day is usually celebrated with a procession that traces the 14 Stations of the Cross which symbolises the path Jesus walked as he carried his cross upon crucifixion. 

Last year, the event could not hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would be the first time in at least a century that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher -- the site of Christ's crucifixion and burial, according to tradition – would not be opened for Easter. In the Stations of the Cross, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the last stop.

More than half of Israel’s 9.3 million residents have been vaccinated. Hence, this permitted most of its major cities to be reopened. Religious leaders carried a cross with many faithful accosting them. They navigated through the church along the Via Dolorosa (Path of Sorrow) that snakes through the Old City. The turnout was small compared to the number of faithful that troop to Jerusalem during Easter.

A minister with the Church of Scotland, Angleena Keizer, informed AFP that the absence of many tourists during the Holy Week at the holy site felt ‘’special’’. However, it would be much better if the tourists were around due to the economy and the need to have the feeling of Easter on the Holy Land. Although Israel has been reopened, tourists are still being restricted from entering the country.

According to a Palestine tour guide, Bader Rabadi, it was quite painful to watch Easter mass online last year unlike this year that there is a physical experience of the holy event. He is also hopeful that next year, Christians from across the world will be able to participate in Easter in Jerusalem.

"Jerusalem is not ours. It's for everyone," he added.

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