Sunday, 20 May, 2018

Pope Uses Easter Message to Pray for Peace in Syria

Christians Celebrate Easter Pope calls for peace in Syria and across the Middle East
Ray Hunter | 03 April, 2018, 06:19

Pope Francis delivers the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing to the city and to the world from the balcony of St Peter's basilica after the Easter Sunday Mass at the Vatican.

Pope Francis has highlighted the plight of migrants numerous times during his papacy.

He kicked off his day tweeting to his 17 million Twitter followers: "Our faith is born on Easter morning: Jesus is alive!"

Pope Francis said the power of the Christian message gave hope to the deprived.

Thousands of the faithful gathered in the Vatican's Saint Peter's Square to hear Pope Francis deliver the annual "Urbi et Orbi" - "to the city and to the world" - Easter address.

On relations between North and South Korea, the Pope said he hoped talks aiming to ease longstanding tensions on the Korean peninsula would "advance harmony and peace".

In his Easter appeal for peace throughout the world, Pope Francis made special mention of the ongoing "carnage" in Syria and the recent violence along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip.

'This Easter, may the light of the risen Christ illumine the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage in course, ' he said.

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The central theme of the message was military conflicts in the world, in particular in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and South Sudan, the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, as well as starvation and terrorism in Africa.

His timely remarks followed the deaths on Friday of Palestinian protesters who charged toward Gaza's border with Israel, the area's deadliest violence in four years.

"May there be no lack of solidarity with all those forced to leave their native lands and lacking the bare essentials for living", said Francis, who has often championed the causes of migrants and refugees.

There was a heavy security presence for his high profile speech with the thousands of people who attended undergo heavy security checks to enter St Peter's Square.

Francis, celebrating his sixth Easter as Roman Catholic leader since his election in 2013, urged his listeners to work for an end to the "so many acts of injustice" in the world.

In Jerusalem, hundreds of worshippers filed into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is believed to be the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection. The denominations, which jealously guard different sections of the church, held separate services one after another.

Devotees carry a statue of the Virgin Mary during the Easter Sunday ceremony "Descent of the Angel" as part of Holy Week in the small town of Tudela, .

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