The Holy Fire ceremony symbolizing Jesus’ resurrection took place in a deserted Jerusalem on Saturday, without the joyful throng of Orthodox Christian pilgrims who would normally attend one of the most colorful spectacles of the Easter season.
The Holy Fire ceremony typically draws tens of thousands of worshippers to an imposing grey Edicule in the Holy Sepulchre that is believed to contain the tomb where Jesus lay two thousand years ago.
— Serbian.Orthodox (@s_orthodox) April 18, 2020
However, this year, restrictions on gathering and travel ban in light of the global coronavirus disease prevented people and pilgrims from all over the world from attending all of this year’s Easter celebrations.
TV footage showed a handful of Greek, Armenian and Coptic Orthodox clergy, garbed in black and wearing blue face masks, standing outside the sealed tomb’s wooden door.
Surreal: The Holy Fire ceremony is happening in Jerusalem today amidst #Coronavirus. The fire is taken from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to the airport, where ten airplanes will bring the fire to Orthodox believers in ten different countries
— Noa Landau נעה לנדאו (@noa_landau) April 18, 2020
In recent years, Israel imposed severe restrictions for Palestinian Christians coming from Gaza and other parts of the West Bank.
Israeli occupation authorities often refused to issue travel permits for hundreds of Palestinian pilgrims from Gaza who planned to visit holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem during Easter.
(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)