Dear Friends and Supporters,
Around the world, Easter 2020 felt very different. With many of us separated from loved ones and places of worship, we caught up with loved ones and watched Easter services online. While many churches in Jerusalem similarly streamed their Easter services and liturgies, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic this Easter was strongly felt in the city of resurrection.
With Holy Land nations remain in various forms of lockdown, pilgrimage has come to a complete halt. As covered in this National Geographic article, the usually-packed Holy Sepulchre had only a few priests for the Service of Holy Fire this year. Before stepping into an empty Holy Sepulchre to mark Easter, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzabella of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, said, “Easter is a time for life. Despite the sign of death we are seeing everywhere, life will prevail, as long as someone is giving life out of love for the others. Happy Easter!”
Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land observe social distancing during Easter services in the Holy Sepulchre
The livelihoods of many Christian families depend on serving pilgrims visiting Jerusalem. As shops are closed and restaurants and hotels remain empty, many Christian families are facing particular economic hardship. This issue will persist beyond the easing of lockdown measures. It will likely be many months before groups of pilgrims return to the Holy Land in their former numbers, meaning that these families have a long and hard road ahead of them.
The situation threatens long-term damage to the parts of the Holy Land’s economy that most benefit Christians. In the face of these crises, ICoHS is committed to communicating the life and love that God offers the world to our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land, which is why we have set up the Hope for the Holy Land Campaign. By working with the churches and local banks to identify families to support, we are positioned to provide direct relief to those Christian families and small businesses that need it the most. You can read more about the campaign in the hyperlink above. Please consider donating to this campaign, which will give hope to many families in the Holy Land.