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Churches in Lebanon welcome worshipers again

BEIRUT – Lebanon’s churches have welcomed worshippers for the first time in nearly two months. Most churches were closed to the public to limit the spread of coronavirus, but Lebanese authorities have started easing restrictions that were imposed in March.

A Christian worshipper wearing a face shield to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus, takes part in Sunday Mass while maintaining a social distance at the Saint Nicolas Church in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, May 10, 2020. Lebanon’s churches welcomed worshippers for Sunday Mass for the first time in nearly two months, as authorities eased restrictions imposed in March to limit the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)


Churches and mosques are now permitted to welcome worshippers for congregational prayers on Sundays and Fridays as long as capacities are limited and other safety guidelines including social distancing measures are respected. Many worshippers entering churches around Lebanon on Sunday were sprayed with disinfectant and had their temperatures checked before they were allowed in to sit at a distance from others.

A priest offers a woman the Holy Communion during a Sunday Mass at the Saint Nicolas Church in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, May 10, 2020. Lebanon’s churches welcomed worshippers for Sunday Mass for the first time in nearly two months, as authorities eased restrictions imposed in March to limit the spread of new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)


Masses including the Easter prayers were held in empty churches for the first time in Lebanon’s recent history last month. Even during the country’s civil war from 1975-90 did not stop its people from going to places of worship. Lebanon has the largest percentage of Christians in the Middle East, about a third of the country’s five million people. The country has registered 809 cases of the coronavirus with 26 deaths attributed to COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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