AP PHOTOS: As pandemic rages, the faithful mourn, carry on

Relief may be on the way in the form of mass-produced vaccines, but COVID-19 continues to ravage communities around the world with the global death toll reaching some 1.5 million, leaving the living to mourn them and carry on.

At a Spanish mortuary, three red roses and a wooden cross graced the plain coffin of a person killed by the coronavirus before it was taken for cremation.

On the outskirts of the Iranian capital, Tehran, masked mourners prayed over the body of another victim as they stood beneath the swooping arches of a cemetery that’s struggling to keep up with the pandemic.

And in Montenegro, the body of Bishop Amfilohije of the Serbian Orthodox Church lay in an open-casket mass funeral in the capital’s ornate main temple after he contracted the virus and died.

Even as the dead are honored, the celebration of rites, rituals and traditions often emphasizes protecting the living through social distancing.

In Sedro-Wooley, Washington, the Garcia sisters eschewed their usual Thanksgiving feast attended by dozens, instead delivering food to relatives spread along 30 miles of the North Cascades Highway for them to dine separately in their own homes while joining a group phone call.

From religious services in honor of St. Andrew in the Romanian village of Ion Corvin; to an Indian woman who prayed over a grave on All Souls’ Day in Kolkata; to Ethiopian Orthodox Christians who lit candles to ask for peace; many wore face coverings to try to prevent the virus’ spread.

Masks were also the rule at an interfaith gathering near New York’s Washington Square Park, as Buddhists, Jews, Muslims and Christians sang and prayed in a show of post-election solidarity; they were less common at protests by supporters of President Donald Trump, such as one outside the Michigan State Capitol where a woman held a large crucifix aloft while praying with fellow demonstrators.

These and more are among the AP’s top faith-related images from November.

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