Reopening of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre Delayed
Two months after being shuttered due to coronavirus-related restrictions, Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre failed to reopen to the public on Sunday as originally scheduled. According to Christian scripture, the site is where Jesus was entombed following his crucifixion, and thereafter resurrected. Millions of pilgrims visit the church each year, but it was closed on March 25 ahead of the Easter holiday. The Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic denominations, which share custody of the site, had released a statement saying that as of May 24, the church would be accessible to a maximum of 50 visitors at a time “who have no fever or symptoms of infection and are wearing suitable face coverings.” Nevertheless, those who turned up on Sunday were denied entry, with religious officials attributing the decision to anticipated difficulties in social distancing. It comes as synagogues were permitted to reopen this week, and ahead of the planned re-opening of the Aqsa Mosque in a few days’ time. No new date was set for re-opening the church.