Easter Mass: All churches in Moscow are closed to the public

Easter Mass: All churches in Moscow are closed to the public

Russian Patriarch Kirill celebrates the Orthodox Easter Mass at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow amid the coronavirus pandemic. All churches in Moscow are closed to the public, as per Patriarch Kirill's orders.

And In Sofia, Bulgaria, people attend Easter mass despite virus fears.

Outside the golden-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Bulgaria's capital Sofia, on Saturday (April 19) the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Neophyte, led the festive midnight mass with only a few dozens of worshippers attending.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has resisted calls to close churches for Easter, the most significant holiday in the Orthodox calendar, despite the coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread across the world.

However, following demands by health authorities, it urged worshippers to pray at home rather than going to church.

At the Holy Saturday liturgy in Sofia, clergymen chanted prayers that echoed around the almost empty square.

The main Easter services will be broadcast live on television.

While only 10% of Bulgaria's population of 7 million are regular church-goers, Easter normally makes an exception and thousands of people cram into the churches.

Bulgaria has reported 878 confirmed cases of the virus and 41 deaths according to John Hopkins University.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and could lead to death.