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Pope prays for peace in Syria, Ukraine on Easter

Sunday, 20 April 2014 - 7:16pm IST | Agency: IANS

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Pope Francis prayed for peace in Ukraine and Syria as thousands gathered in Vatican City to celebrate Easter Sunday.

Pope Francis led the mass in St. Peter's Square right in front of the St. Peter's Basilica, News.VA, the official Vatican news network, reported.

At least 150,000 Christians from Vatican and other parts of the world had gathered Sunday to celebrate this holy day.

The Pope prayed for peace in Syria and Ukraine and also prayed for those people around the world who are suffering from hunger, poverty, disease and neglect.

"We pray to put an end to all war and every conflict, whether great or small, ancient or recent," Pope Francis said in his message.

He prayed to ease the ongoing tensions in Ukraine between pro-Russian activists and supporters of the Kiev government which have resulted in bloodshed since February.

"We ask you to enlighten and inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine, so that all those involved, with the support of the international community, will make every effort to prevent violence," prayed the Pope whose papacy began March 13 last year.

Pope Francis also prayed that Syria should "boldly negotiate the peace long awaited and long overdue".

Syria has been riven since March 2011 by a civil war which has claimed more than a million lives while others have been forced to leave their country.

He also prayed for resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, end of conflicts in the Central African Republic, and halt to the brutal terrorist attacks in Nigeria and the violence in South Sudan.

He also mentioned the people in Guinea struck by the Ebola epidemic.

This is the second Easter mass and "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message 77-year-old Francis has delivered as Pope.

The avenue leading up to the Vatican was decorated with 35,000 flowers donated by the Netherlands.

Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday is the holiest day in the Christian calendar since it marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred three days after his crucifixion by the Romans.

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