today's Pick
Pope Francis leads Easter celebrations
Publish Date: Apr 20, 2014
Pope Francis leads Easter celebrations
Pope Francis at the Easter celebrations at the St Peter basilica in Vatican. AFP PHOTO
  • mail
  • img
newvision

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis celebrated Easter mass on Sunday with a message of social solidarity as the world's Orthodox marked a holiday marred by bitter divisions over Ukraine and clashes broke out in Jerusalem.

Francis led the ceremony for the holiest day in the Christian calendar on St Peter's Square, which will be followed by a special blessing and address to crowds of Catholic faithful in the famous Vatican piazza.

Swiss Guards and cardinals could be seen as tens of thousands of people crowded into St Peter's Square and the main avenue leading up to the Vatican, which was decorated with 35,000 flowers donated by Dutch growers.

At an Easter vigil on Saturday, Francis asked Catholics to bring "the fire which Jesus has kindled in the world... to all people, to the very ends of the Earth".

Francis said the core of the Easter message was about returning to the basics and asking: "Have I gone off on roads and paths which made me forget it?"

This is Francis's second Easter since he was elected by fellow cardinals in March last year promising to make the Catholic Church less "Vatican-centric", more transparent and closer to ordinary people.

Pope Francis lifts up the book of Gospels during the Easter celebrations. AFP PHOTO

On Good Friday, Francis attended a traditional torch-lit ceremony at the Colosseum in Rome where he called for help to "abandoned people" and railed against "the monstruosity of humankind".

Prayers read out during the event honouring Christian martyrs past and present touched on pressing contemporary social issues including drug addiction, unemployment, prison overcrowding and domestic abuse.

The Vatican almoner meanwhile dispensed charity on the pope's behalf to homeless people sleeping rough around Rome's main train station Termini, handing out an Easter greeting card and 50-euro ($69) notes each.

At the start of four days of Easter rituals on Maundy Thursday, the pope washed the feet of 12 disabled people at a centre in Rome in a new take on a traditional ceremony inspired by Christ's humility.

Easter this year coincides with the Orthodox calendar and Ukraine's government said it was holding off on a confrontation with pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine until after the Easter holidays.

But four people were reported killed in a gunbattle at a barricade in the volatile eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk on Sunday, a local leader told journalists.

And there was a bitter war of words between religious leaders, with Kiev's Patriarch Filaret thundering that Russia was an "enemy" whose "attack" was doomed to failure because it was evil and against God's will.

In Moscow, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill prayed for God in turn to put "an end to the designs of those who want to destroy Holy Russia" and said Ukraine was "spiritually and historically" at one with Russia.

There were also tensions in Jerusalem amid Easter celebrations, with Israeli police arresting 16 Palestinians as they clashed with demonstrators at the Al-Aqsa compound in the Old City -- a sensitive holy site revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
40,000 children die of diarrhoea, pneumonia annually
Over 40,000 children die every year from diarrhoea and pneumonia, accounting for 25% of all deaths among children....
Grateful to US, Syrian Kurds name baby
Sultan Muslim, a Syrian Kurd, had no doubt what to name her seventh child when he was born, safely in Turkey....
Museveni responds to Ssemogerere interview
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has responded to various issues raised by former Democratic Party president Paul Ssemogerere’s in an interview with the Sunday Monitor of September 28....
Hundreds of thousands of Ebola vaccine doses could be rolled out to West Africa by mid-2015, the World Health Organization said Friday, after a new case of the virus was reported in New York and a two-year-old girl died in the first case in Mali....
Museveni directs Makerere on accurate fees structure
President Yoweri Museveni has given the Makerere University leadership up to the end of this month to furnish him with the unit cost of educating each student, with the purpose of establishing an accurate fees structure for the institution....
OPM officials refund scam cash
A number of officials from the Office of the Prime Minister implicated in the multibillion financial scam have refunded....
Should diplomatic passports issued to ex-govt workers be with drawn?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter