While church leaders urged worshippers to stay at home to avoid spreading coronavirus, Belarusians were determined to celebrate Easter – even if they did so in different ways than usual.
While many watched Easter services online or on TV, others sidestepped virus fears to attend churches on the most important date in the Orthodox calendar.
TUT.BY photo reporters went to the city to see some believers obediently wearing masks and following social distancing, and others taking the warning carelessly.
Easter services saw a third of the normal number of worshippers. Belarusian Church leader Metropolitan Pavel told believers to stay at home saying “human life is much more valuable”.
“I urge all our Orthodox Christians … to refrain from visiting the church these days, but the virus is transmitted in unknown ways.
Some may object that there is the grace of the Holy Spirit in the temple. Indeed, but this does not repeal the laws of nature. We don’t touch the hot candle with our hand, because there are safety rules.”
Meanwhile, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko – who regularly describes the pandemic as a massive psychosis – did attend the service on Sunday in Smolevichi.
“No matter what we were going through, no one could ban or clamp down on this holiday. I have always gone to church and will keep doing it. No matter how things are evolving, this is sacred. This is my principle,” the president explained his position.
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