Pope Francis delivers the weekly Angelus prayer from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Photo: Evandro Inetti/ZUMA Wire/dpa
Pope Francis delivers the weekly Angelus prayer from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Photo: Evandro Inetti/ZUMA Wire/dpa

(dpa) – Pope Francis is celebrating Good Friday in a severely restricted form because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the early evening at 6 pm (1600 GMT), the Catholic Church leader will remember the suffering and death of Jesus Christ in a service in St Peter’s Basilica.

According to the Vatican, only a few faithful are to be admitted to the Pope’s Masses around Easter because of health measures.

The large public Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum in the centre of Rome, which used to be a moving event for many pilgrims, will be cancelled as in 2020.

Instead – similar to the beginning of the pandemic – a small Stations of the Cross celebration is scheduled to take place in St Peter’s Square in front of the basilica at 9 pm.

The event traditionally re-enacts Jesus’ journey to death on the cross. For this meditation, children and young people have written texts and made pictures. According to church information, some of the children come from foster homes in Rome.

For the 84-year-old Francis, it is the second Holy Week and Easter under severe coronavirus restrictions.

In the spring of 2020, the pope from Argentina had warned against pessimism, but appeared sad himself.

Easter, as the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, is the most important religious festival for Christians.

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