Worship and Quarantine

Aktualizacija biblijskih tekstova Lev 13,45-46 i Mk 1,40-44 u kontekstu pandemije COVID-19


  • Domagoj Runje Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Split


worship, quarantine, leper, ritual (im)purity, Bible, COVID-19


The closure of churches for public worship during the general lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has provoked diverse reactions but also it has encouraged some new forms of pastoral and worship. In that context a new interest in the reading of Old Testament texts related to the impossibility or prohibition of entering the temple, i.e., participation in public worship for persons in a state of ritual impurity or in other similar circumstances has been awakened as well. These are usually temporary, longer, or shorter periods after which the purified person can approach the temple again. But sometimes the condition of impurity lasts a long or even a lifetime.

The question arises as to how such persons, who cannot participate in temple worship, can live their relationship with God and their fellow man. In doing so, we start from the fact that in the Old Testament context, the answer to that question cannot be sought outside the Law of Moses.

In this presentation, we will take a closer look at the regulations for lepers in the Leviticus (13:45-46) and Jesus’ healing of a leper in the Gospel of Mark (1:40-44) and try to read them in the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.