Christians around the world celebrated Easter on Sunday, as Pope Francis and others expressed concern over embattled communities in the cradle of the faith following church bombings in Egypt and attacks on civilians in Syria’s civil war.
At St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Francis lamented the horrors generated by war and hatred, delivering an Easter Sunday message that decried the “latest vile” attack in Syria — a bombing Saturday that killed more than a hundred people.
Thousands of worshippers flocked to Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and resurrected.
This year, the Orthodox churches celebrate Easter on the same Sunday that Roman Catholics and Protestants mark the holy festival. The Western Christian church follows the Gregorian calendar, while the Eastern Orthodox uses the older Julian calendar, so the two Easters are often weeks apart.
In Egypt, Coptic Christians marked a somber Easter a week after twin bombings by the Islamic State group killed dozens of worshippers at churches in two separate cities.
In New York, a few thousand people packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Cardinal Timothy Dolan told worshippers to remember that even though things may seem bleak at times, Easter brings the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, showing how “God has the last word.”