Impact of the 2019–20 Coronavirus Pandemic on Religion

The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic has impacted religion in various ways, including the cancellation of the worship services of various faiths, the closure of Sunday Schools, as well as the cancellation of pilgrimages surrounding observances and festivals.Many churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples have offered worship through livestream amidst the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.Relief wings of religious organizations have dispatched disinfection supplies, controlled air purifying respirators, face shields, gloves, coronavirus nucleic acid location reagents, ventilators, patient monitors, syringe pumps, infusion pumps, and nourishment to affected areas. Other churches have offered free COVID-19 testing to the public. Adherents of many religions have gathered together to pray for a conclusion to the COVID-19 pandemic, for those affected by it, as well as for God to give physicians and scientists the wisdom to combat the disease;in the United States, President Donald Trump designated 15 March 2020 as a National Day of Prayer for Americans to seek God’s assistance amidst the pandemic.


World Council of Churches General Secreatary Olav Fykse Tveit announced that, “This situation calls on our solidarity and accountability, mindfulness, care and wisdom… [as well as] for our signs of faith, expectation and love”.Amidst the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, some churches continue to operate their nourishment pantries that are offering bags loaded up with meat and tissue rolls for destitute families.Lutheran Disaster Response, the help wing of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has given supplies to China, whence the disease originated; these include disinfection supplies, controlled air-purifying respirators, face shields, gloves, coronavirus nucleic acid recognition reagents, ventilators, patient monitors, syringe pumps, infusion pumps, and nourishment to affected areas.Other churches, such as the Church of the Highlands, an evangelical Christian megachurch, have offered free COVID-19 tests in their parking lots.

The Vatican announced that Holy Week observances in Rome, which occur during the last week of the Christian penitential season of Lent, have been canceled.Many dioceses have prescribed more seasoned Christians to stay at home rather than attending Mass on Sundays, which is usually required; some churches have made church services available via internet livestreaming or television.With the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rome closing its churches and chapels, Saint Peter’s Square is presently unfilled of Christian pilgrims;[1] then again the Archdiocese of New York, though cancelling services, has left its churches open for prayer. In the American state of Ohio, Roman Catholic bishops dispensed the faithful of their obligation to attend Sunday Mass until Easter Day.

L. Jonathan Holston, bishop of the South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church prescribed that churches “continue with worship services — giving increased vigilance regarding cleaning worship areas, giving hand-washing stations, and educating members about social distancing and other preventive measures. On 13 March 2020, Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church issued a statement that would be updated no later than the start of Holy Week, which coordinated “the local churches of any size and different ministries in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to suspend in-person worship and different gatherings of in excess of 10 individuals for the following two weeks”.Many parts of the Methodist Churches, which uphold Sunday Sabbatarian teaching, have transitioned their church services on the web; 90% of the parishes inside the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, for example, are presently offering worship via web livestream.

The celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day on 17 March 2020 was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, though Mass was still held in some churches and some parades still commenced.Some churches opposed government orders disallowing large gatherings, and some even encouraged their members to disregard health warnings.

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Other Christian churches, including non-denominational churches, have begun utilizing livestreams with a chat feature and emphasizing gathering in small groups, such as immediate families. This includes Life.Church’s Church Online Platform and an encoder gadget known as Living As One. Articles are being published to aid those who have not started a livestream in the past.In compliance with local recommendation, churches such as Cornerstone Fellowship in the California East Bay were moving exclusively to internet, emphasizing it not being done out of fear or panic, but out of worry for the elderly.In Hong Kong, churches have moved to Life.Church’s Open Network Church Online platform as well.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has executed a temporary suspension of all worship services across the globe as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Saudi Arabia closed the Great Mosque of Mecca for Umrah visitors and banned touching Kaaba.

The Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Medical Association of Canada and the Canadian Council of Imams prescribed that congregations suspend Friday congregational prayers and gatherings.

The Dome of the Rock has closed, though Muslim prayers are still occurring in the Temple Mount.

Mosques have closed in Singapore and Malaysia.

Imam Reza Shrine, Fatima Masumeh Shrine, Shah Abdol-Azim Shrine and Jamkaran Mosque in Iran were closed temporarily.[28] Friday prayers were also suspended.

Religious leaders in both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have strongly urged individuals to pray in their homes and avoid going to Mosques for regular and Friday prayers.

Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs imposed a nationwide ban on prayer gatherings in mosques, including Friday prayers.


At the Western Wall, thousands of Jews gathered to pray for a conclusion to the coronavirus pandemic and this was driven by Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu.

Many gatherings related to the Jewish celebration of Purim were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Rabbinical Council of America, speaking on behalf of Orthodox Judaism, issued a guideline stating that “public gatherings in synagogues and schools should be severely constrained”.

The Rabbinical Assembly, speaking for Conservative Judaism, stated that “Protecting human life overrides almost every other Jewish value” and prescribed that weddings be postponed.

Dharmaic – Hinduism

The festival of Panguni Uthiram, which is usually associated with processions, was canceled due to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.

The Nagar Kirtans associated with the holiday of Vaisakhi in the Spring have also been suspended or postponed.Nepal government has offered permission to just 25 pilgrims without a moment’s delay in the sacred Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu,Nepal.

On 18 March, The journey of Mata Vaishno Devi in Jammu and Kashmir has been called off. Apart from this, the operation of all interstate busses coming to from Jammu and Kashmir has also been stopped. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB), issued a consultation for foreigners not to visit the sanctuary until 28 days after their arrival in India. Ordinary citizens won’t have the option to go to the world famous Aarti to be held at the Ganges Ghat in Kashi. The district administration has banned passage of average citizens in Ganga Aarti. The organizers have also been asked to finish the Ganga Aarti in a simple way.


The Sikh Coalition prescribed the cancelling of services at gurdwaras. Additionally, many Sikh gurudwaras have suspended the contribution of free nourishment to gurudwara visitors as a result of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.

The Central Sikh Gurdwara Board has prescribed that older Sikhs stay at home, though it has allowed weddings that have been scheduled to continue.


The Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism, which allows visitors to encounter monastic life in one hundred and thirty-seven temples, has suspended that program.

Amidst a surge in affirmed cases across the state of Maharashtra in India, the health officials declared that several tourist and religious sites will be closed down as a precautionary measure. These sites included Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai, Tulja Bhavani Temple in Osmanabad district, Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Aurangabad district, Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple in Pune, Mumba Devi Temple in Mumbai and Saibaba Temple in Shirdi.

The Buddhist Churches of America have cancelled services for the spring Higan holiday and different events at many of their temples.[35]

Legal issues

The First Liberty Institute, a non-benefit legal firm based in the United States, has issued guidance for religious institutions related to the suspension of their work during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.


Italian Law and religion scholars of the Association of Academics of the Legal Regulation of the Religious Phenomenon on 8 March 2020 started a research venture, coordinated by Prof. Pierluigi Consorti (University of Pisa), with a website, for gathering documents and brief comments about Religion, Law and Covid-19 Emergency.

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