Apr 17, 2022 - World

Pope Francis calls for peace in Ukraine on "Easter of war"

Pope Francis easter
Pope Francis delivers his Easter "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square on April 17. Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Francis called for peace in Ukraine as he addressed crowds in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, adding the world was marking an "Easter of war" this year, Reuters reported.

What they're saying: "Our eyes, too, are incredulous on this Easter of war. We have seen all too much blood, all too much violence," the Pope said in his biannual "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) address, per Reuters.

  • "Our hearts, too, have been filled with fear and anguish, as so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves away in order to be safe from bombing."
  • "May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, so sorely tried by the violence and destruction of the cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged," he added, in an implicit criticism of Russia.
  • "In this terrible night of suffering and death, may a new dawn of hope soon appear! Let there be a decision for peace. May there be an end to the flexing of muscles while people are suffering."

Worth noting: "We know this Holy Day falls on heavy hearts for those who have lost loved ones and those among us living in the dark shadow of war, persecution, and poverty," President Biden said in a statement Sunday.

  • "On this day and each day, we pray for them, and for peace, freedom and the basic dignity and respect for all of God’s children," Biden added.

The big picture: This is the first time since 2019 that the pope has addressed Easter crowds in person due to the pandemic, as around 100,000 people turned out Sunday to hear his address, Reuters reported.

  • Pope Francis also spoke of the plight of Ukrainian refugees and lauded the acts of charity done by those opening their homes to them, per CNN.

Editor's note: This post was updated with quotes from President Biden's statement.

Go deeper