Christians celebrated Easter Sunday not with the usual joyous festivities and traditional large gatherings, but in the comforts of their homes, isolated from fellow believers.
The extraordinary situation the whole world is facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic has required church leaders to find ways to continue with Easter church services despite a government-imposed lockdown.
Even in this time of isolation, we are loved by the God who is with us. —Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby
In London, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, celebrated Easter with thousands of Anglicans through a video recorded in the kitchen of his apartment, reports German media company, Deutsche Welle.
As he thanked the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), he called for a “resurrection of our common life” once the crisis is over. The spiritual leader of Anglicans wrote on Twitter: “Even in this time of isolation, we are loved by the God who is with us.”
A priest in Britain conducted mini-masses on West London streets during the quarantine. According to France 24, Reverend Patrick Allerton rode his bicycle in the Notting Hill neighborhood and settled outside the street on Easter Sunday.
“I simply play a hymn, ‘Amazing Grace’, then lead a time of silent prayer or reflection for the sick and the NHS, then lead the Lord’s prayer,” the 41-year-old cleric said.
He added that, “Hope conquers fear. At the very least, it’s a positive communal activity and singing brings joy.”
Meantime, the Orthodox Church in Russia advised people to worship at home, reports BBC. A senior cleric, Metropolitan Ilarion, said, “We shall certainly celebrate Easter even if it won’t be possible to go to church.”
In Milan, Italy, opera singer Andrea Bocelli gave a moving concert at the deserted Duomo cathedral on Sunday night, reports The Independent. The tenor sang sacred music, including “Ave Maria” and “Sancta Maria.”
More than 25 million viewers streamed the performance live on YouTube. Bocelli called the performance, “a prayer then, for Milan and for the world, in front of an absolutely painful, tragic and unsettling event.”