All services related to Easter preparations are held in the Vatican without direct public participation due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Deutsche Welle website reports .
Traditionally, the procession takes place near the walls of the Coliseum in Rome, and every year thousands of pilgrims from all over the world gather on it. But the emergency situation with the coronavirus pandemic led to the fact that only five prisoners from the Padua prison in northern Italy, who suffered the most from a fatal infection, accompanied the pontiff during the procession, and five doctors and nurses from the Vatican took part in the process.
Today in Italy, about 19 thousand people have died from the coronavirus, and thus Pope Francis honored the memory of the victims of the pandemic.
Earlier, the Pope compared doctors who became infected with the coronavirus and who died in the performance of their professional duties with soldiers who fell in the war. "They sacrificed their lives out of love," said the pontiff.
The fact that prisoners accompanied the pope in the procession is explained by the fact that religious texts traditionally read during the Way of the Cross on Good Friday this year were written by prisoners, judges, and also the parents of the child who was the victim of the murder, AFP reports.
The day before, the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church recommended that parishioners stay at home during Holy Week and Easter on April 19 and not attend churches.
The report of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church also states that the failure to comply with the recommendations of the patriarchy “remains at the discretion of the diocesan bishops, taking into account the sanitary and epidemiological situation in each region”.
Two days earlier it became known that in the Moscow diocese eight priests of six churches were infected with the coronavirus, and three others suspected an infection. Employees of the medical institution of the Moscow Patriarchate - the clinical hospital of St. Alexy, began testing for coronavirus all residents of Moscow monasteries.