Christians mark Good Friday and Holy Week amid coronavirus restrictions
Christians marked Good Friday and Holy Week, the second year that followers of Jesus observed the annual holidays amid tight restrictions on gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday.
Christians in Jerusalem al-Quds marked Good Friday without the mass pilgrimages usually seen in the days leading up to Easter because of Covid-19. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, died and rose from the dead, was open to visitors with masks and social distancing.
The Covid-19 pandemic is still raging in many predominantly Christian countries.
In neighboring Lebanon, Christians observed Good Friday under a lockdown and economic hardship.
In Latin America, penitents from Mexico and Guatemala to Paraguay carried tree branches covered with thorns and large crosses in Passion Plays reenacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Worshippers in the Philippines and France marked a second annual Holy Week under movement restrictions amid outbreaks fanned by more contagious strains. In the U.S., officials urged Christians to celebrate outdoors, while social distancing, or in virtual ceremonies.
At the Vatican, Pope Francis presided over a torch-lit Way of the Cross ceremony in St. Peter’s Square, foregoing for a second year the traditional Colosseum procession that draws thousands of pilgrims, tourists and Romans.
In Kenya, all churches were ordered to close as part of a ban on large gatherings to contain a worsening outbreak.
Despite the common Abrahamic heritage between Christianity and Islam, Good Friday is not celebrated in the Muslim world as it is in the Christian world. The Quran is explicitly clear on the aspects of Good Friday and the crucifixion of Jesus.
In the Quran, stories about the life and teachings of Jesus (called Isa in Arabic) are abundant. The Quran recalls his miraculous birth, his teachings, the miracles he performed by God’s permission, and his life as a respected prophet of God.
Belief in Jesus and all other messengers of God is a requirement for being a Muslim. The Quran mentions Jesus by name 25 times and emphasizes that Jesus was a mortal human who, like all other prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread God's message.
To Muslims, it is the ascension rather than the crucifixion that constitutes a major event in the life of Jesus. Muslims believe that Jesus will return to Earth at the end of time along with the 12th Imam, Mahdi, to rid the world of tyranny and injustice.