Pope Francis has called for a truce in Ukraine as Orthodox Christians and Eastern-rite Catholics in the country celebrate Easter.
The majority of Christian denominations follow the Gregorian calendar and celebrated Easter last Sunday. Orthodox Christianity however follows the Julian calendar and celebrates Easter today.
Francis made his call for peace during the Regina Caeli prayer in St. Peter’s Square, conveying his “warmest wishes” to those celebrating the religious holiday today.
“Christ is risen, he is truly risen! May he fill with hope the good expectations of hearts. May he grant peace, outraged by the barbarity of war,” the pope said.
Francis has been a fierce critic of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and his comments today continued in a similar vein as previously, lamenting the continuance of military aggression in the country.
“It is sad that in these days, which are the holiest and most solemn for all Christians, the deadly roar of weapons is heard rather than the sound of bells announcing the Resurrection; and it is sad that weapons are increasingly taking the place of words,” Francis said.
“I renew my appeal for an Easter truce, a minimal and tangible sign of a desire for peace. The attack must be stopped, to respond to the suffering of the exhausted population; it must stop.”
In message appeared to be directed at Russian President Vladimir Putin, the pope urged politicians to “listen to the voice of the people who want peace”.
Francis had already called for a truce prior to the start of the holy week, a plea which fell on deaf ears.