News / Europe

    Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

    Pope Francis incenses the faithful as he arrives to celebrate an Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sunday, April 20, 2014.
    Pope Francis incenses the faithful as he arrives to celebrate an Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sunday, April 20, 2014.
    VOA News
    Pope Francis prayed for peace in Ukraine and Syria as he celebrated Easter Mass on Sunday at the steps of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
     
    The pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church, prayed for all those involved in the conflict in Ukraine to "make every effort to prevent violence." In Syria, he prayed for "peace that is long awaited and long overdue."
     
    He also called for an end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
     
    Pope Francis spoke to thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square for the annual celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, one of Christianity's most prominent holidays.
     
    In Ukraine, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk attended church with his family and called on Ukrainians to unite and "resurrect."
     
    Christians also packed churches in Iraq and Syria to pray for peace.
     
    British royalty - the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - attended Easter service in Australia at Saint Andrew's Anglican cathedral in Sydney.
     
    Before they left, William and Kate signed the First Fleet Bible, a King James edition the first fleet of European settlers and convicts brought to Australia in 1788.
     
    The Bible had been previously signed by Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
     
    At an Orthodox Christian Easter service in troubled Ukraine, which is locked in conflict with Russia, Kyiv Patriarch Filaret called Russia an "enemy" whose attack on Ukraine is doomed to fail. 
     
    Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended a Russian Orthodox Easter service at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow where Patriarch Kirill led prayers for Russians in Ukraine and called for an "end to the designs of those who want to destroy Holy Russia."
     
    Worshippers gathered Saturday night in Bethlehem for the traditional Easter vigil at the Church of Saint Catherine, adjacent to the Church of the Nativity. 
     
    The church is one of the most visited shrines of Christianity and stands above the grotto where Christians believe Jesus was born.
     
    • Russian President Vladimir Putin, foreground left, attends the Easter service in Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, April 20, 2014. 
    • An Orthodox priest blesses traditional Easter cakes and painted eggs prepared for Easter celebrations in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra church (Cave Monastery), Kyiv, Ukraine, April 20, 2014. 
    • Pope Francis gives the thumb up as he leads the Easter mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 20, 2014. 
    • Pope Francis waves as he leads the Easter mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 20, 2014. 
    • A Ukrainian Orthodox priest sprinkles holy water on worshippers outside a regional government building during Easter in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 20, 2014. 
    • Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge prepare to sign the First Fleet Bible and Prayer Book following Easter Sunday Service at St. Andrews Cathedral in Sydney, April 20, 2014. 
    • Britain's Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, meets members of the cathedral choir following an Easter Sunday service at St. Andrews Cathedral in Sydney, April 20, 2014. 
    • Temperate weather on Easter Sunday brought large crowds to view the Orchid Symphony exhibit, U.S. Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C., April 20, 2014. (Elizabeth Pfotzer/VOA)
    • Philippine Coast Guard personnel stay beside people swimming just outside the U.S. Embassy as they celebrate Easter Sunday, Manila, Philippines, April 20, 2014. 
    • Spencer Slate, garbed as a scuba-diving Easter bunny, places hard-boiled eggs on the sea floor 2014, in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo, Florida, April 18, 2014. 

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    Comments
         
    by: John Stefanyszyn from: Canada
    April 21, 2014 2:17 PM
    "Pope Francis" (Jorge Bergoglio), you celebrate the resurrection of Christ under the name of a pagan goddess...so be it.

    However, if you say that Christ is resurrected, that He is real today, that He is the Living Son of the Only Creator....why then do you confess that it is RIGHT to be FREE to worship ANY 'god' / belief...since there is no other?

    John Stefanyszyn
    ...a bondman of the living Lord & King Jesus Christ, Son of the One Creator

    by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
    April 20, 2014 10:59 PM
    I request Pop Francis to use his influnce to stop West and USA to supply weapons to world Famous Terrorist Al Qaida and its branch in Syria. I know the interest of USA in Syria against its deadly weapond to Terrorist to get FREE oil from Saudi Arabia. I request all Suppliers to Terrorist to read their religious books,whether GOD will be happy by our acts. Show me one religious book where GOD will be happy with our acts to supply weapons and money to kill innocent peoples,destroy their life completely.If answer is big no then do not supply weapons to terrorist for the sack of money. We do not know whether we will get time to enjoy with that money or not. So please do no burn your hand with human blood for the sake of money or free oil from Saudi Arabia.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    April 20, 2014 11:25 AM
    Has anybody noticed that the most religious tolerant and diverse countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, are now religious battlefields in the last (5) years -- (OR?) -- since that man who came to power bowed to the king, of the most repressive and intolerant religious country in the entire world?
    STRANGE isn't it? -- why these countries that allowed and supported religious freedoms are now under attack from religious fanatics, (and) that one who rose to power and bowed to the king, hasn't done a thing that the king didn't approve of?

    by: leonidas from: ca
    April 20, 2014 9:47 AM
    Pope Francis has the right message for people of all faiths, "Can everyone just get along".

    by: bb from: andover
    April 20, 2014 9:21 AM
    most russians aren't catholic- (and there's a difference) so this may not happen- unlike other countries bordering it (aka poland) who are very leary right now of this

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