ICYMI: Pope Appeals to Russians

(ReclaimingAmerica.net) – Pope Francis used his Easter message to the world after the solemn mass on Sunday to urge Russians to seek the truth about their invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Speaking at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, the 86-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church also called for dialog between Israelis and Palestinians amid the ongoing outbursts of violence.

Before that, on Good Friday, the Pope skipped the outdoor service as a precaution after he was in hospital in March with bronchitis.

On Easter Day, the day Jesus rose from the dead, St. Peter’s square was decorated with 38,000 flowers donated by the Netherlands, Reuters reported, cited by Newsmax.

According to the Vatican’s estimates, some 100,000 worshippers attended the Easter Day mass with the Pope’s twice-yearly “Urbi et Orbi” (“To the city and the world”) message and blessing from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

As he prayed to God for peace, Francis spoke of “the darkness and the gloom in which, all too often, our world finds itself enveloped.”

“Help the beloved Ukrainian people on their journey towards peace and shed the light of Easter upon the people of Russia,” he declared.

Ever since Putin’s Russia attacked Ukraine nearly 14 months ago, Pope Francis has spoken at least twice weekly about Ukraine and its “martyred” people. He has called Russia’s actions “aggression” and “atrocities.”

“[I pray to the Lord to] comfort the wounded and all those who have lost loved ones because of the war, and grant that prisoners may return safe and sound to their families. Open the hearts of the entire international community to strive to end this war and all conflict and bloodshed in our world,” the Pope said.

Francis also called for peace in the decades-long Middle East conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. This time the message came amid renewed violence in Jerusalem and fire exchanges on Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon.

Tensions have skyrocketed since last week’s Israeli police raids on the Al-Aqsa mosque, which outraged the Arab world.

“On this day, Lord, we entrust to you the city of Jerusalem, the first witness of your resurrection. I express deep worry over the attacks of these last few days that threaten the hoped-for climate of trust and reciprocal respect, needed to resume the dialog between Israelis and Palestinians, so that peace may reign in the Holy City and in the entire region,” the Pope said.

In his Easter message, he also pointed out the political instability in Israel’s neighbor Lebanon, called for “justice” for Myanmar’s “martyred Rohingya people,” and urged continued help to Turkey and Syria, where earthquakes recently killed more than 55,000 people.

Francis also noted the situation in Nicaragua, a predominantly Catholic Central American nation, whose regime has ended diplomatic relations with the Vatican and prohibited Holy Week processions.

He asked God to “remember all who are prevented from freely and publicly professing their faith” in Nicaragua.