A lone worshipper prays over the Stone of Anointing at the Church   of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 22, 2020
A lone worshipper prays at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem
Photo: AFP
A lone worshipper prays over the Stone of Anointing at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 22, 2020

In Jerusalem, Church of Holy Sepulcher is eerily empty

Holy site asks the few worshipers not to enter in groups of more than 10, maintain distance of at least two meters from one another - a stark contrast with crowds of Christian pilgrims who normally visit in lead-up to Easter

Reuters |
Published: 03.24.20 , 09:40
Religious chants echoed on Sunday through almost empty prayer chambers and passageways in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, with coronavirus precautions limiting attendance at the place revered as the site of Jesus's crucifixion and burial.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter
  • The small congregation contrasted starkly with the crowds of Christian pilgrims who normally fill the church in the lead-up to the Easter holiday.
    A lone worshipper prays over the Stone of Anointing at the Church   of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 22, 2020 A lone worshipper prays over the Stone of Anointing at the Church   of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 22, 2020
    A lone worshipper prays over the Stone of Anointing at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 22, 2020
    (Photo: AFP)
    "Usually [on] the Sunday of Lent we have all the parish of Jerusalem gathered here at the Holy Sepulcher, and all the parish pray and we are united," said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa.
    "Now we cannot have celebrations, so we have very reduced celebration, very small, very simple, modest. This is very painful for us."
    A Greek Orthodox priest and a caretaker stand in front the   deserted Edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in   the Old City of Jerusalem, March 15, 2020 A Greek Orthodox priest and a caretaker stand in front the   deserted Edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in   the Old City of Jerusalem, March 15, 2020
    A Greek Orthodox priest and a caretaker stand in front the deserted Edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 15, 2020
    (Photo: AFP)
    The church, in Jerusalem's walled Old City, has said worshipers should not enter in groups of more than 10 and ought to maintain a distance of at least two meters between one another.
    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's birthplace, the Church of the Nativity has shut down entirely.
    Priests walk in the often bustling plaza in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 22, 2020 Priests walk in the often bustling plaza in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 22, 2020
    Priests walk in the previously bustling plaza in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 22, 2020
    (Photo: AFP)
    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 complex, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
    Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site, has limited Friday prayers to the open outdoor areas of the mosque compound on the Temple Mount - one of the most sensitive spots in the Middle East.
























    טקס האש הקדוש הנוצרי בכנסיית הקבר בעיר העתיקה בירושליםטקס האש הקדוש הנוצרי בכנסיית הקבר בעיר העתיקה בירושלים
    The ceremony of Holy Fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 2018
    (Photo: Reuters)

    Talkbacks for this article 0