Orthodox believers celebrate Easter at home

Millions of Orthodox Christians celebrated Easter this weekend. The coronavirus crisis also left its mark on these celebrations. Services were held in empty churches and the faithful stayed at home. Media in Greece, Romania and Russia draw their conclusions regarding this unusual Easter.

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Izvestia (RU) /

Praying at home is a service to others

The ban on visiting churches is strengthening the faith of believers, writes Alexander Volkov, an Orthodox priest and leader of a Moscow congregation, in Izvestia:

“I see how people are changing. At first they resisted the restrictions on going to church. Not being able to attend church on Easter or other holidays has been a real blow to them. But gradually they understood: by staying at home today you're doing a service to others. ... For most believers being able to go to church unhindered and whenever they wanted to was something they took for granted. Now they can no longer do this. However, for many there is both meaning and joy in refraining from attending church because they're doing it not just for themselves.”

Cyprus Mail (CY) /

Religion without the drama

Spending Easter at home offers the opportunity to focus on the universal messages of Christianity, columnist Christos Panayiotides points out in the Cyprus Mail:

“It is an opportunity to silently focus on the religious messages of love, forgiveness, compassion, altruism, solidarity. It is an opportunity to quietly reject hypocrisy, revenge, selfishness, pettiness, resentment. Let's forget the theatrical, ritualistic elements of religion; let's ignore the selfish interests and motives of church officials. In our isolation, let's resurrect all those beautiful feelings that make certain human souls stand out from the crowd. Happy Easter!”

Contributors (RO) /

Easter celebrations expose social rifts

The emotionally charged debate about when and how to ease the lockdown has revealed deep rifts in Romanian society, theologian and former foreign minister Theoder Baconschi describes on Contributors.ro:

“The most obvious dividing line is that between Christians and atheists: here you can see the supporters of a politically correct, latently dictatorial 'progressivism' that would like nothing better than to banish the Church to the catacombs and religious practice to the strictly 'private' sphere. ... Influencers in their forties are letting their discriminatory visions run wild on social media: in their opinion Christians should be sent into quarantaine for good, along with the seniors. ... But the Christians are also divided. In order to prove their 'unswaying' faith some were even willing to flout the official curfews.”