Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 20 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Andrew Kim Taegon and Companions
home iconNews
line break icon

Holy Land’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher will now be closed indefinitely

HOLY SEPULCHRE

Pavel Cheskidov I Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 03/31/20 - updated on 04/01/20

The site of the crucifixion and resurrection will be closed for Easter and beyond.

For the first time in nearly seven centuries, the church built on the site of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ has been closed to the public.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, containing the tomb of Christ, will likely see extremely quiet celebrations of Easter, with a limited number of clergy conducting private liturgies.

Authorities originally closed the church March 25 for a week in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the closure has been extended indefinitely.

“The initial understanding is that this order is valid for one week, although nobody knows how long this crisis will take,” Wadie Abu Nassar, a spokesperson for the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, told Reuters.

A statement issued March 26 by Brother Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, His Beatitude Theophilus III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and His Excellency Nourhan Manugian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, said, “Following the evolution of the situation in the Holy Land, we, the leaders of the three communities to whom Divine Providence has entrusted the grace and honor of making the praise of God resound in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher and of the Resurrection, wish to communicate that the celebrations of the three Greek-Orthodox, Latin and Armenian communities will continue regularly.”

But for security reasons and to avoid the risk of contagion from Covid-19, the religious leaders said that “the number of participants in individual celebrations will be limited to a few people, and the Basilica will be accessible only during liturgies.”

”We want to assure that within the Basilica itself the prayer of the three communities will continue regularly and will be intensified to ask the Heavenly Father for the cessation of the pandemic, the healing of the sick, the protection of health care personnel, the wisdom for Pastors and Rulers and the eternal Salvation of those who have died,” said the statement. “We raise this prayer at the very place where through the sacrifice of his life on Calvary and the Resurrection from the tomb on the third day, the only begotten and loved Son of God overcame evil, sin and death.”

Easter will be celebrated on April 12 by the Western Churches and a week later by the Eastern Churches following the Julian calendar.

The last time the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was closed to the public for an extended period was in 1349 during an outbreak of plague in Jerusalem.

Tags:
CoronavirusJerusalem

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
3
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
4
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
5
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
6
PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
7
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.