News World Coronavirus fears lead Holy Land Catholic churches to give communion by hand...

Coronavirus fears lead Holy Land Catholic churches to give communion by hand only

Roman Catholic authorities in Jerusalem have instructed their priests to give communion by hand only, rather than placing the wafers on worshippers’ tongues, and to empty holy water fonts – as precautions against the spread of the coronavirus.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem announced the measures on Thursday, shortly after the start of Lent, the 40-day season that leads up to Easter. Millions of pilgrims frequent Jerusalem and other holy cities such as Nazareth and Bethlehem each year.

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Vatican’s apostolic administrator, said in a statement that with its many visitors the Holy Land is in a “unique situation”.

The guidelines include “receiving Communion by hand only”, rather than placing the wafer directly on the recipient’s tongue, and avoiding “having the faithful receive Communion from the chalice”.

In the communion ceremony, worshippers receive a wafer called a host and often sip wine, or dip the wafer into wine in the chalice before putting it in their mouths.

Catholics believe that the host and wine, after consecration by a priest, become the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Pizzaballa’s statement also offered a “preventive suggestion” to empty the holy water fonts – typically metal or stone basins filled with blessed water that are often placed at the entrance to a church.

The Latin diocese is the Vatican’s representative in holy cities across Israel and the Palestinian territories as well as in Jordan and Cyprus.

Its most famous churches are Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried, Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, where he is believed to have been born, and Nazareth’s Basilica of the Annunciation.

Earlier on Friday, Israel confirmed its second case of coronavirus, a person it said had been in close contact with a man who tested positive after visiting Italy.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Ypsonas, Polemidia residents up in arms over burning trash toxic smell

Residents in Limassol district’s Ypsonas and Polemidia areas are up in arms over the frequent unbearable smell of burning trash to dispose it from...

Police hand out 27 fines for violation of covid-19 measures

Police booked six establishments and 21 individuals all across Cyprus over the past 24 hours for violation of measures to contain the spread of...

Protest against Chile’s government

A protester gestures while a church is set on fire during a protest against Chile's government, on the one-year anniversary of the protests and...

Millennials get little satisfaction from democracy – Cambridge study

Young people are less satisfied with democracy and more disillusioned than at any other time in the past century, especially in Europe, North America,...

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 40.06 million

More than 40.06 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,113,218​ have died, according to a Reuters...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...