Hyderabad, April 5 (IANS) The Holy Week, or the week before Easter, began Sunday but Christians celebrated the occasion with virtual prayers at their homes in view of the ongoing nationwide lockdown to prevent spread of coronavirus.
On an appeal by their religious groups and organizations, Christians did not gather at churches to celebrate the Palm Sunday but participated in the mass organized live by some churches.
Christians believe Palm Sunday commemorates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, when palm branches were placed in his path, before his arrest and crucifixion on Good Friday.
The Palm Sunday is celebrated in many churches by processions in which branches of palms are carried.
For a second consecutive week, Sunday mass was not held at churches across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. There were no congregations or mass prayers in view of the appeals made by the churches in both the Telugu states.
All churches in Hyderabad and Secunderabad, which have sizeable number of Christians, suspended worship service.
The worshippers were urged to stay at home and participate in the prayers to be beamed live on various social media platforms.
Centenary Methodist English Church, Hyderabad asked the people to download the zoom app on their mobile phones or laptops to participate in Palm Sunday service. They were directed to follow the order of service sent on WhatsApp. However, the participation was limited to 500 members.
The Methodist Church in India resident and presiding Bishop M A Daniel has already appealed to all churches to suspend all Sunday worship service till further notice. He asked pastors to follow measures taken by the state and central governments.
Federation of Telugu Churches (FTC) said all congregations at churches were put on hold till further orders. FTC officials said some churches telecast live Palm Sunday service on YouTube or other platforms for the benefit of the worshippers.