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Pope Francis swings a thurible at the start of Easter Sunday Mass behind closed doors at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Photo: Andreas Solaro/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis spoke of a "contagion of hope" as he celebrated Easter Sunday mass by breaking with centuries of tradition in a livestream of the service from a near-empty St. Peter's Basilica.

The big picture: The mass was broadcast via the Holy See's YouTube channel early Sunday amid the lockdown. Hope was a theme of the Pope's Saturday night Easter vigil, when he urged some 1.2 billion Catholics, "Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear" in the coronavirus crisis.

  • Other leaders also expressed hope, including Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, who spoke in a recorded Easter message Saturday of "light overcoming darkness."
  • Church of England leader and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was to speak of a "resurrection of our common life" in his "first national digital Easter Sunday service from the kitchen" of his London apartment, per the BBC.

Watch the mass below:

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.