Pope Francis wished a happy Easter to Catholics around the world on Sunday and dedicated his solemn speech to the problem of international conflicts, calling peace efforts "everyone's primary responsibility."
"The Lord is risen! Let us lift up our gaze, remove the veil of sadness and sorrow from our eyes, and open our hearts to the hope that God brings!" the Pope said in a tweet. Pope Francis celebrated a high mass and addressed Catholics with the Urbi et Orbi (to the city [of Rome] and to the world) message. At noon (10:00 GMT), the pontiff marked the resurrection of Jesus to 50,000 believers who came to a square in front of the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, Sputnik News Agency reported.
"Brothers and sisters, let us allow the peace of Christ to enter our lives, our homes, our countries!" the pope said.
In his address, the pontiff listed crisis situations in various parts of the world, including those in the Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan and Myanmar. Special attention was paid to the Ukrainian crisis.
"May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine," the pontiff said.
He urged world leaders to heed people's plea for peace and stressed that people themselves must not get used to conflicts.
"Peace is possible; peace is a duty; peace is everyone's primary responsibility!" the pope added.
In conclusion, he absolved all those who were present in the square and listened to his message of their sins.
Easter is a holy Christian festival that celebrates Jesus rising from the dead, three days after he was put on a cross and executed.
As mentioned in the Bible, Christ was crucified on the day of Good Friday and buried in a grave after his last supper which is commemorated as Maundy Thursday. However, on the third day when his disciples visited his grave, they found that the grave was empty. The day marks the triumph of Christ over death and this also makes him the 'Son of God'.
The day is celebrated with pomp and grandeur every year. Traditions like church visits, baking hot cross buns and decorating Easter eggs are symbolic of Christ's death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb.
It always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.
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