Israeli authorities will allow usual Easter-related ceremonies in Jerusalem to proceed, but with restrictions put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic, a Foreign Ministry source said on Monday.
The various churches in Jerusalem have ceremonies and special prayer services throughout Holy Week, which for Catholics begins on the 5th April this year, and for the Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Coptic, Syrian Coptic and Ethiopian Churches on the 12th April.
The churches are normally packed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but they will have to observe restrictions like the other Holy sites throughout Israel, which are closed due to COVID-19.
The Holy Fire ceremony, a miracle that occurs every year on the day before Orthodox Easter, will take place on the night of April 18 this year.
The precise mechanism of the ceremony has not yet been elaborated, a Foreign Ministry source said, because the health ministry could put more restrictions on it, but flights have already been organised to bring the Holy flame to Russia, Ukraine and Greece.
There will likely be 10-15 representatives of the Eastern Orthodox doctrines in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, who will transport the Holy Fire with a police escort to Tel Aviv airport where it will be distributed to the delegations, who will not disembark from their planes, in order to avoid Israel’s quarantine requirements.
The entire Holy Fire ceremony will be live-streamed online.