Pope prays for Ukrainians and Russians at Easter Mass
St. Peter’s Square is taken over by about 100,000 worshipers this Sunday, according to Vatican security
A crowd of faithful crowded St. Peter’s Square, in the Vatican, to attend the Easter Mass celebrated this Sunday (April 9, 2023) by Pope Francis. In his prayers, the pontiff asked for the Ukrainian and Russian peoples. The pope also appealed to Israelis and Palestinians for “resumption of dialogue”.
The speeches were in the traditional closing speech of the mass, called The city and the world (for the city and for the world, in Latin). Easter is one of the most important dates in Christianity. According to Christian belief, it was on this day that Jesus rose from the dead after being crucified.
“Help the beloved Ukrainian people on their path to peace and spread the light of Easter on the people of Russia”, Francis said in his speech. “Comfort the wounded and all those who lost loved ones because of the war, and grant that prisoners may return safe and sound to their families”, he added.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the pope has been calling for an end to the conflict. Ukrainian diplomats, however, criticized him for not being tough enough in his remarks about Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
This Sunday (April 8), Francis once again appealed to the international community to work to put an end to “all conflict and bloodshed in the world, starting with Syria, which still hopes for peace”. The pontiff also prayed for those who lost loved ones in an earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey on February 6. More than 50,000 people died.
Regarding clashes between Israelis and Palestinians during Ramadan, the pope called for a “resumption of dialogue, in a climate of trust and mutual respect […] for peace to reign in the Holy City [Jerusalém] and throughout the region”.
According to Vatican security teams, at the beginning of the mass, about 45,000 faithful were in St. Peter’s Square. The crowd swelled to around 100,000 before the pontiff’s speech from the basilica’s balcony.
Francisco, 86, is recovering from bronchitis. He was hospitalized for 3 days, until April 1st, in a hospital in Rome.
Because of his health and the cold, he did not participate in the Via Sacra procession on Good Friday. On Saturday night (April 8), however, he returned to activities. He led the Easter Vigil ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica, which lasted more than two hours. This Sunday’s mass (April 9) lasted for the same period.