Bethlehem (Agenzia Fides) - In the face of the Coronavirus pandemic that threatens all humanity, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem call on peoples and communities to respect "the provisions and instructions of the civil authorities of the countries in which we live". In a joint communiqué, released today Monday 16 March, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem call upon Almighty God "to look on our situation and be gracious to our suffering world. We are all called to live this time continuing to trust in our heavenly Father who takes care of all His creatures. It is therefore good that we intensify personal prayer, fasting and alms-giving and to walk in the light of God’s love".
The alarm caused by the Coronavirus touches the area of Bethlehem with particular vehemence. The city where Jesus was born has been placed under quarantine since last week, after the first 16 cases of people infected by Covid-19 had been diagnosed in the area. The first outbreaks of the entire West Bank were recorded in a hotel in the Bethlehem area, which had hosted some Greek pilgrims who were affected by the virus. For several days, Bethlehem appears to be a ghost town. Students and seminarians of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem also left the headquarters of the major Seminary of Beit Jala and were transferred to the headquarters of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem. It is the first time since 1936. (GV) Agenzia Fides, 16/3/2020)