eurel     Données sociologiques et juridiques sur la religion en Europe et au-delà


  • April 2021 : Worship services in Czech Republic now accessible

As in the whole world, the Czech Republic has been suffering from hygienic measures since March 2020 to protect against the spread of the viral disease SARS-Cov. The impact on the worship of all churches has been strong. In the Czech lands, last year’s ceremonies of adult baptisms were often moved from Easter to Pentecost. This, fortunately, did not happen again this year.

The Czech Government’s ruling restricting gathering for hygienic reasons changed many times over the last 14 months, and it will be hard work for historians to map the changes in the legal situation in this area. As for attending services, the principle was that only 10 percent of the seats in a church were allowed to be occupied. Many clergymen began to broadcast services online, multiplied the number of services on Sundays and feasts, set up a system of reserving seats in church pews. In some places it was possible to broadcast services outside the church, using large screens. Singing in the churches was forbidden.

Since 26 April 2021, the capacity of churches is no longer limited. However, believers can continue to attend the mass in person only with respiratory protection (i.e., have a respirator, surgical mask or nano mask), must disinfect their hands before entering the church and keep a two-meters distance from people who are not members of the same household. No other restrictions have been set. The Church’s recommendation to refrain from using holy water and shaking hands in sign of peace continues.

Jakub Nagy, Záboj Horák, Jiří Rajmund Tretera
  • April 2021 : Easter Celebrations and Covid Regulations

This year, the Easter Triduum was celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm throughout the Czech Republic. Last year, due to the pandemic, public Easter services could not be held at all and the baptisms of adults were postponed to Whitsunday.
Worshippers followed strict health restrictions, including that churches can only be occupied to 10 percent of their capacity, and pews must be disinfected before and after services. Mass singing, so popular in all Slavic countries, was not allowed. During the Easter Triduum, the government made an exception to the rules of free movement restrictions : people had until midnight to return to their homes,and the curfew from 9 p.m. did not apply for Maundy Thursday.
Catholic priests responded by organizing additional services. Participants signed up in advance to observe to the 10 percent hygiene limit. The attendance of online services was extremely high this year, and they were possibly also watched by non-members.
The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, the second largest church in the Czech Republic in terms of the number of participants in services, followed a similar approach.
Many adult baptisms took place in the Catholic and Evangelical Churches during Easter this year. In the Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert at Prague Castle, which is also the seat of the President of the Czech Republic, Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague and Primate of Bohemia, baptized and confirmed several men His Excellency Mons. Charles Daniel Balvo, the Apostolic Nuncio in the Czech Republic, took part in all the services of the Easter Triduum in the Prague Cathedral.
The Easter Vigil was streamed by cathedral television, which is managed and financed by the Metropolitan Chapter at St. Vitus in Prague.

Záboj Horák, Jiří Rajmund Tretera

D 17 mai 2021    AJakub Nagy AJiří Rajmund Tretera AZáboj Horák

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