Cardinal Mario Zenari, the nuncio to Syria, said he is raising special prayers these days to Ss Cosmas and Damian, fourth-century physicians who offered free care for the sick in Syria.
As the Syrian civil war enters its 10th year, still sowing death and destruction, the danger is extremely high of the coronavirus pandemic spreading in a country devastated by war and where more than 6 million people are internally displaced.
In an interview with Vatican News, the cardinal said that despite the war, up to this point Christians in Syria celebrated Holy Week and Easter every year, “even under the risk of bombs and mortar attacks”.
But the coronavirus pandemic has done what the war could not, he said. All the churches are closed for worship.
“It is a totally new, unimaginable, unexpected, difficult-to-describe time of preparation” for Holy Week and Easter, he said, which makes the situation in Syria similar to many places around the world.
Picture: A view of a closed church taken in Hama, Syria, on 22nd March 2020, as all religious gatherings are suspended during the coronavirus pandemic. (CNS photo/Yamam Al Shaar, Reuters).