Amid Virus, This Year’s Easter is Like No Other

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People wear masks on a bridge as Italy celebrates Easter under lockdown to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Venice, April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri
Asharq Al-Awsat

Christians around the world celebrated Easter at a distance on Sunday, with most churches closed and family gatherings canceled amid wide-ranging coronavirus shutdowns.

St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, where tens of thousands would normally gather to hear Pope Francis deliver his “Urbi et Orbi” speech and blessing “to the city and the world,” was empty of crowds, ringed by police barricades.


Pope Francis celebrated Easter Mass inside the largely vacant basilica, with the faithful watching on TV at home.

Similar scenes played out around the world. With houses of worship shut by the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, celebrated an Easter service from his kitchen in London for his flock of 85 million worldwide.

In Europe, countries used roadblocks, fines and other tactics to keep people from traveling over an Easter weekend with beautiful spring weather.