Only a handful of priests celebrated Holy Saturday at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher this year, following severe restriction on gatherings and movement due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Holy Sepulcher was closed on March 25, over fears of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Occupied #Jerusalem . The door is closed on Easter Sunday for the 1st. Time, since 1349.
This is out and out heartbreaking.
— Abeer_Al~Khatib (@abierkhatib) April 10, 2020
In normal times, the church, located in Jerusalem’s Old City, attracts thousands of local and international pilgrims and tourists, who come to visit the Edicule of the Tomb.
The Holy Sepulcher is believed to be the site of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and burial.
“The days we are experiencing are marked by a great void: void of rituals, void of faces, void of presences, void of contacts,” said the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa in his Easter Vigil homily at the Holy Sepulcher.
ABC Radio: As Palestinian Christians prepare for Christmas in the Holy Land, Palestinian writer and academic Ramzy Baroud discusses the challenges the season will bring. https://t.co/5QknnSfHA3 pic.twitter.com/dDyyTBQPBr
— Ramzy Baroud (@RamzyBaroud) November 24, 2019
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, WAFA, Social Media)