Hyderabad: Christians across the state are disappointed as they would be spending the Good Friday and Easter services this weekend at their homes, instead of at churches, following strict instructions from the government against congregations at places of worship.
The curbs are in force due to the fresh rise in Covid-19 cases in the state.
For Christians, the Holy-week follows the 40 days of Lent that ends with Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus Christ. This is the day when the devout have the ‘Lord’s Supper’. The next day is Good Friday, the day when Chirst was crucified, which is followed by Easter on Sunday marking the day of Chirst’s resurrection.
However, the decision against congregations at places of worship, as per GO issued on March 27, came as Covid-19 cases in the country rose over the past few weeks. The GO sid public celebrations of festivals should not be allowed till April 30.
Many Christians are deeply upset over the decision and are questioning the government as to why so when cinema halls are permitted to exhibit movies with full strength audiences, commercial malls are allowed to conduct business as usual, and no restrictions are in place for pubs and bars.
“Why can’t they allow the churches have congregations during this holy times? Churches are maintaining all the Covid-19 safety protocols. Good-Friday holds more prominence for all Christians. There has been a Christian leader’s representation to the chief secretary of Telangana, seeking a waiver.
According to Church representatives, the government is looking into the matter.
Sis Joy Cherian of the United Fellowship Church said: “The congregation is disappointed by the decision taken by the state government. We have been fasting and praying during the 40-day Lent. On Good Friday, special prayers take place. The government should reconsider its decision, as churches have been following all the safety protocols so far.”
Kusumalatha, a member of John Wesley church, Goutam Nagar Malkajgiri, said “It’s very saddening as Maundy Thursday and good Friday are important for Christians. The government should have allowed churches to function normally at least on these days.”
Peter Jadalula, a senior manager at a private firm, said “Last year’s Good Friday and Easter were not celebrated because of the lockdown. Now, all the commercial establishments are allowed to function normally. Why can’t the government allow the festival with minimum presence?”
Robert Surya Prakash, general secretary for United Christmas celebration committee, said, “We, along with a few Christian heads, approached the chief secretary, requested him to reconsider the government decision and allow the Good Friday service. We also explained to the CS how churches have been scrupulously following all the Covid-19 precautions ever since the lockdown was eased.”