SYRIA: Churches in Aleppo perform Sunday prayers for first time in over a month

Aleppo / by Ali Al-Agha for @NPA_English – On Sunday, churches in the city of Aleppo in northern Syria reopened their doors to worshippers after all centers of worship were closed in mid-March in implementation of preventative measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Prayers were held amid tightening measures by the Archdiocese of Aleppo, which was keen to give everyone who enters the church a mask after sterilizing their hands. Only limited numbers were allowed to enter, which caused a great crowd in the yard due to the influx of dozens to the church.

The priest of the St. Mary Church for Armenian Orthodox in Aleppo’s Vellat neighborhood Joseph Narhanol told North-Press that they have adopted all measures that “guarantee the safety of the prayers in all the churches in order to control the number of coronavirus infections in the country.”

He added that a large number of worshipper flocked to the churches going a full month without prayers or religious events to which Christians in the city are accustomed.

On the 5th of this month, the Syrian Ministry of Religious Endowments announced the reopening of mosques for Friday prayers only, with the halting of collective prayers.

The ministry indicated that the rituals of prayer should be performed in accordance with health measures such as the wearing of masks, physical distancing between each worshipper, and the sterilization of mosques before and after the prayer. In addition, patients and those showing any symptoms similar to the ones of coronavirus are not allowed to enter, in addition to the necessity that the sermon does not exceed ten minutes.

Originally published by North Press Agency on 10 May 2020