Coronavirus Christmas: Limited gatherings to be allowed even in lockdown

Gatherings for worship will be permitted under special regulations on December 25, January 7 and January 19.

YULETIDE VIBES: Christmas season at the YMCA attracts crowds from all over the country. (photo credit: Courtesy)
YULETIDE VIBES: Christmas season at the YMCA attracts crowds from all over the country.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Limited worship services will be allowed on the three dates of Christmas celebrated in Israel, despite the upcoming lockdown that will be in effect during at least the first celebration of Christmas, the Knesset's ministerial committee on the coronavirus announced on Wednesday night.
Starting on Sunday at 5 p.m., Israel will enter its third coronavirus lockdown to fight rising infection rates, meaning that many of Israel's Christians will spend Christmas in lockdown.
While most Americans are used to celebrating Christmas on December 25, which comes before the upcoming lockdown, Israeli Christians celebrate the holiday on December 25, January 7 and January 19 due to different traditions and calendars among different streams of Christianity.
Services will be allowed with up to 100 participants in open spaces. In enclosed spaces, the allowance will depend on the number of entryways, with 10 people allowed per entryway, but not exceeding 100. 
The exemption will be in effect from Thursday at 5 p.m. until Friday at 8 p.m., then again from January 6 at 5 p.m. to January 7 at 8 p.m. and again from January 18 at 5 p.m. to January 19 at 8 p.m.
While the Roman Catholic celebration of Christmas on December 25 will take place before the lockdown begins, the Greek Orthodox celebration of the holiday on January 7 will take place under lockdown, as will the Armenian one if the lockdown is extended.
The Roman Catholic Church and Armenians outside of Israel follow the Gregorian calendar, while the Armenian Church in Jerusalem and the Greek Orthodox Church follow what is known as the Julian calendar.
The Roman Catholics celebrate on December 25. The Greek Orthodox Church also does, but on the Julian calendar, which is about 13 days off from the Gregorian calendar, causing the Gregorian December 25 to fall on Julian January 7.
The Armenian Church in Jerusalem celebrates Christmas on January 6 according to the Julian calendar, which winds up being January 19 on the Gregorian calendar.

Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman contributed to this report.