Millions of Christians mark Easter Sunday under Covid restrictions
Millions of Christians around the world celebrated a second Easter under coronavirus restrictions on Sunday, which according to Christians, marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ after he was crucified on Good Friday.
In his Easter message, Pope Francis urged countries to quicken distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly to the world’s poor, and called armed conflict and military spending during a pandemic “scandalous”.
"I urge the entire international community... to commit to overcoming delays in the distribution of vaccines and to facilitate their distribution, especially in the poorest countries," he said to a congregation of only around 100 people inside the vast St. Peter's Basilica.
Celebrations have been dampened in many Christian-majority nations due to the devastating outbreak.
But Easter mass was held at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem al-Quds, where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried.
Tourists are however still generally barred, and the tens of thousands of pilgrims who usually flock to holy sites could not enter this year.
Easter, also called Resurrection Sunday, is a Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. According to the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion. Easter Sunday is part of the Holy Week.
Despite the common Abrahamic heritage between Christianity and Islam, Muslims believe Jesus was not crucified. The Quran mentions that Jesus was rather saved by God and raised to Heaven.
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.