Jerusalem, Apr 4 (efe-epa).- Easter celebrations returned to Jerusalem after the coronavirus pandemic forced the authorities to cancel almost all religious events in the Old City last year.
Due to the border closure, no foreign visitors took part in the rituals which were able to be held thanks to Israel’s advanced vaccination rollout. Nearly 5,000 West Bank residents were allowed through check points to take part.
“In this last year in much of the world, we have counted mainly infections, sick people, deaths,” said the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, from inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which contains two of Christianity holiest sites: the place Jesus was crucified and the tomb where he was resurrected.
“We are a bit like Mary Magdalene: tempted to run backwards, to look for the bodies we have lost, the lost opportunities, the postponed vacations, the life that seemed to escape from us,” he said.
Today’s celebration follows the vigil of Holy Saturday that begins in Jerusalem with an early mass, unlike the rest of the world that commemorates it in the early hours of Sunday.
“Here in Jerusalem we celebrate Easter Eve as it used to be, not on Saturday night but on Saturday morning, because this was the ancient tradition,” Pizzaballa explained to the Christian media center.
Catholic families mark the occasion with Easter meals, including typical sweets, which was restricted last year as visiting other houses was prohibited. EFE-EPA