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Bulgaria: Churches open for Easter, but few attend amid coronavirus crisis03:19

Bulgaria: Churches open for Easter, but few attend amid coronavirus crisis

Bulgaria, Sofia
April 12, 2020 at 13:54 GMT -00:00 · Published

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Bulgarian churches remained open for Palm Sunday and Easter services. Only a few devotees were however attending the Patriarch mass at the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral of Sofia on Sunday.

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov urged Bulgarians to stay put and pray in their homes to prevent a further spread of the coronavirus, after Bulgaria's Orthodox bishops refused to close churches and temples on traditional Palm Sunday.

"Keeping distance, you can go in, light a candle and go out. Nothing different to what we see in the streets, for example you can see parents with children which is madness," commented a local.

"In my opinion churches could remain closed here as well. As in Western Europe they did it, it must be necessary as a measure, that's all," said another resident.

Services at major churches were broadcasted live on state TV and via internet. As seen on footage, police presence were increased in Sofia to enforce social distancing among the few who decided to go to the masses on Palm Sunday.

The population's behaviour during Easter Holiday when masses usually attract large crowds is crucial at the moment in the Christian Orthodox country, as the government expects the outbreak to peak next week.

Bulgaria has declared state of emergency until May 13 and imposed a ban on groups of more than two people. As of Friday, Bulgaria tallied 611 confirmed coronavirus cases and 24 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Bulgaria: Churches open for Easter, but few attend amid coronavirus crisis03:19
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Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Bulgarian churches remained open for Palm Sunday and Easter services. Only a few devotees were however attending the Patriarch mass at the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral of Sofia on Sunday.

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov urged Bulgarians to stay put and pray in their homes to prevent a further spread of the coronavirus, after Bulgaria's Orthodox bishops refused to close churches and temples on traditional Palm Sunday.

"Keeping distance, you can go in, light a candle and go out. Nothing different to what we see in the streets, for example you can see parents with children which is madness," commented a local.

"In my opinion churches could remain closed here as well. As in Western Europe they did it, it must be necessary as a measure, that's all," said another resident.

Services at major churches were broadcasted live on state TV and via internet. As seen on footage, police presence were increased in Sofia to enforce social distancing among the few who decided to go to the masses on Palm Sunday.

The population's behaviour during Easter Holiday when masses usually attract large crowds is crucial at the moment in the Christian Orthodox country, as the government expects the outbreak to peak next week.

Bulgaria has declared state of emergency until May 13 and imposed a ban on groups of more than two people. As of Friday, Bulgaria tallied 611 confirmed coronavirus cases and 24 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

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