An Orthodox priest blesses traditional Easter baskets after Mass in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia An Orthodox priest blesses traditional Easter baskets after Mass in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia 

Ukraine: Pope Francis renews appeal for Easter truce

Pope Francis renews his appeal for an Easter truce to the war in Ukraine, as Eastern-rite Catholics and Orthodox faithful celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord.

By Devin Watkins

As Oriental Christians who follow the Julian calendar celebrate the great feast of Easter, Pope Francis took the opportunity to call for a truce to the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at the Regina Coeli prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, the Pope warmly greeted Orthodox Christians and Eastern-rite Catholics, and lamented the atrocities of war which have wounded peace.

“May Jesus grant peace, which has been wounded by the barbarity of war,” he said.

As Sunday marks two months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, the Pope noted that the war has grown more violent.

“It is sad that these days, which are the holiest and most solemn for all Christians, we hear the deadly noise of weapons rather than the sound of bells announcing the Resurrection. It is sad that arms are taking the place of words.”

Easter truce in Ukraine

Pope Francis then renewed his appeal for an Easter truce, calling it “the least and most tangible sign of a desire for peace.”

“May attacks cease so as to come to the aid of suffering people,” he said. “May we stop and obey the words of the Risen One, who on Easter day told His disciples: ‘Peace be with you’.”

The Pope went on to urge everyone to pray for peace and have the courage to say that “peace is possible.”

“May political leaders—please—listen to the voices of your people, who desire peace and not an escalation of conflict.”

Cameroon pilgrimage for peace

Separately, the Pope threw his support behind a pilgrimage in Cameroon to reconsecrate the African nation to the Virgin Mary and pray for peace.

"The Bishops and faithful of Cameroon today make a pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine of Marienberg to reconsecrate the nation to the Mother of God and entrust it to her protection,” he said.

Catholic in Cameroon, he added, are praying for “the return of peace in their country, which for five years has been wounded by violence in several regions.”

Pope Francis also invited all Christians to join in their prayer, “so that that God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may grant a true and long-lasting peace soon to this beloved nation.”

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24 April 2022, 12:52