How religious communities are modifying traditions to prevent coronavirus spread

Updated 5:46 PM ET, Thu March 12, 2020

(CNN)When Episcopal congregants receive Holy Communion this weekend, many of them may choose not to dip the consecrated bread into the single, shared chalice. Some Catholic churches simply won't be using the cup during communion. And when worshippers of both traditions exchange the sign of peace, they'll wave or bump elbows instead of the typical handshakes or hugs.

Those are just a handful of the precautions that the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago are each taking to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in their congregations. Both institutions have issued guidelines to clergy, priests and other congregation leaders as more cases of coronavirus are identified across their region.
And as coronavirus continues to spread around the world, religious leaders across several faith traditions are modifying practices and adjusting services. Churches are offering mass online and on TV. Synagogues may stream readings of the Scroll of Esther for Purim. Muslim pilgrimages of Umrah are temporarily suspended.
Here's a look at some of the ways that religions are adapting to the threat of coronavirus.

Christianity

In Bethlehem, doors are closed at the Church of the Nativity, considered the birthplace of Jesus. And across Manger Square, the Omar Ben Khatab mosque stands empty as well.