Pastor calls for bravery against coronavirus from atop Swiss cathedral tower

Protestant pastor Christoph Sigrist blesses the city of Zurich from the Karlsturm tower of the Grossmuenster church, amid an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Zurich, Switzerland April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

By John Revill and Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) – A pastor called on the residents of Zurich to be brave during the coronavirus outbreak on Sunday – as he gave an Easter blessing from high atop one of the towers at the city’s landmark Grossmuenster cathedral.

Christoph Sigrist read out a blessing from the city’s 800-year-old church, known as one of the birthplaces of the Protestant Reformation.

Sigrist asked God to protect people of all religions in his blessing which he read from the top of the 60-meter high tower, using only a traditional wooden cone as a loudhailer, rather than an electric microphone.

Four trumpeters played from the balcony before and after the blessing.

“In times of crisis long ago, priests in Switzerland used to go out into mountains and sing out God’s blessings to the people,” Sigrist told Reuters.

“This is a very old tradition which I am bringing to the city,” added the 57-year-old, who was accompanied on Sunday by horn players. “It’s a blessing for the whole world in this difficult time with the coronavirus.”

Below, a few people taking a break from their self-isolation broke into a round of applause after the blessing, as the trumpeters started playing the gospel song “Oh Happy Day.”

(Reporting by John Revill)

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