Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Easter Mass

( dpa ) - Pope Benedict XVI marked Easter Sunday Mass in St Peter s Square with a message that called for the peaceful resolution of conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Tibet.

"Dear brothers and sisters! Let us allow the light that streams forth from this solemn day to enlighten us; let us open ourselves in sincere trust to the risen Christ, so that his victory over evil and death may also triumph in each one of us, in our families, in our cities and in our nations," the pontiff said.

"How can we fail to remember certain African regions, such as Dafur and Somalia, the tormented Middle East, especially the Holy Land, Iraq, Lebanon, and finally Tibet, all of whom I encourage to seek solutions that will safeguard peace and the common good!"

Benedict told the faithful gathered in the square and those following the ceremony in the 57 countries where it was being broadcast on television.

During the Mass the pontiff wore a golden embroidered cope, or mantle once worn by Pope Benedict XV, whose 1914-22 pontificate was marked by World War I - a conflict which that pope had tried in vain to bring to an end through mediation.

"May the grace and joy of the Risen Christ be with you all," Benedict said in his Easter greeting which he repeated in 63 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Swahili and his native German.

He then ended the ceremony with the delivery of his traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing "to the city and the world" which was followed by applause and cheering from the tens of thousands of people packed the famous Roman square despite the cold, wet conditions.

The ceremony brought to a climax four days of intensive Easter- related commemorations involving the 80-year-old pontiff, leader of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics.

Benedict presided over a Easter Vigil inside the Vatican Basilica late on Saturday and the traditional Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession around the Coliseum on Good Friday, opting out however from his scheduled carrying of a wooden cross for a portion of the walk.

The theme of religious freedom dominated the Via Crucis proceedings which were accompanied by meditations penned by outspoken Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, a key figure for Asian Catholics including those in China who are split between a Beijing-sanctioned church and an underground Catholic community loyal to the pope.

At the Easter Vigil ceremony Benedict administered sacraments to seven converts, including baptism rites to a well-known Italian journalist and former self-described "moderate Muslim," Magdi Allam.

The surprise inclusion of the Egyptian-born Allam - who has been under police protection since 2003 following threats, allegedly from Muslim extremists - among the group prompted one prominent Italian Muslim leader to question the Vatican's decision to handle the conversion in such a high-profile way.

The Vatican in its relations with Muslims has repeatedly stressed for reciprocity, urging respect for people to convert to Christianity and for Christians to worship freely in majority Muslim nations.

Many Muslims view abandoning Islam for another faith as apostasy, with some saying it should be punishable by death.

Benedict began the Easter-related commemoration on Holy Thursday when he washed the feet of 12 priests in a traditional gesture commemorating Jesus' act of humility with the disciples at the Last Supper.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Iran looks to boost its energy trade through Economic Cooperation Organization
Iran looks to boost its energy trade through Economic Cooperation Organization
Iran's ties with Economic Cooperation Organization to boost country's cargo transit
Iran's ties with Economic Cooperation Organization to boost country's cargo transit
Gas swap agreement is mutually beneficial for Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan - experts
Gas swap agreement is mutually beneficial for Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan - experts
Loading Bars
Latest
Uzbekistan reveals leading regions in amount of loans issued in 9M2021
Head of EU delegation expresses condolences to Azerbaijan over military helicopter crash
Italian Embassy expresses condolences to Azerbaijan over military helicopter crash
Georgian economy grows 6.9% in October 2021
Turkish President to pay visit to Qatar in December
Capacity of crashed military helicopter of Azerbaijan's State Security Service was 24 people
Manual counting of 29% of protocols show that 7 parties may enter Kyrgyz Parliament
AZAL plane makes emergency landing in Baku
Pakistan seeking to increase trade routes on border with Iran
UN Resident Coordinator expresses condolences over military helicopter crash in Azerbaijan
Any outside influence as cause of helicopter crash out of question - head of Azerbaijani State Border Service
Coordination Headquarters holds another meeting in Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan's First Deputy Prosecutor General talks investigation, following helicopter crash
Former Turkish PM expresses condolences over helicopter crash in Azerbaijan
French ambassador expresses condolences over crash of military helicopter in Azerbaijan
UK's Ambassador expresses condolences over crash of military helicopter in Azerbaijan
Organization of Turkic States expresses condolences to Azerbaijan due to helicopter crash
Israeli ambassador expresses condolences to Azerbaijan over helicopter crash
Iranian Foreign Ministry expresses condolences to Azerbaijan over helicopter crash
Helicopter crashed while landing at Garaheybat training center – Azerbaijani State Border Service
Status of martyr to be assigned to those killed in plane crash in Azerbaijan (VIDEO)
Turkish President Erdogan holds phone talks with President Ilham Aliyev
President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva give instructions on burial of those killed in helicopter crash
Witnesses of helicopter crash being questioned in Azerbaijan – First Deputy Prosecutor General
Turkish Minister of National Defense expresses condolences to Azerbaijani Defense Minister
Flight recorder of crashed military helicopter found in Azerbaijan
Pakistani companies may partake in restoration of Azerbaijan's liberated territories (PHOTO)
Iran looks to boost its energy trade through Economic Cooperation Organization
Iran's ties with Economic Cooperation Organization to boost country's cargo transit
Azerbaijan excludes any outside interference following deadly helicopter crash
IRENEX shares data on sales of Iranol Oil Company
Gas swap agreement is mutually beneficial for Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan - experts
ICIEC Signs MOU with Japan's Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI)
Israel's Bezeq Q3 profit up, raises full year outlook
Iran seeks to boost trade ties with Turkmenistan
Pakistan expects $3 billion reserves deposit from Saudi in days
Iran eyes to commission 12 new metro stations in Tehran
Oxford University says no evidence yet that vaccines won't protect against severe disease from Omicron
SOCAR’s STAR Refinery reduces crude oil imports
Iran remains optimistic about Vienna nuclear talks
FMs of Azerbaijan, Turkey hold phone talk
Turkmenistan's crude oil supplies to Turkey down
Azerbaijan's oil export volume down in 10M2021
Footage from crash scene of military helicopter of Azerbaijan’s State Fire Service (PHOTO/VIDEO)
U.S. Int'l Development Finance Corporation provides financing to Bank of Georgia for SMEs support
Kazakhstan boosts crude oil exports to Turkey
Iran's president to speak before parliament
Kazakhstan increases trade with Turkey over 9M2021
Use of Sputnik Light as booster jab for all vaccines approved in UAE
Cargo transportation via internal waters up in Kazakhstan
Central Bank of Azerbaijan reveals amount of sold foreign currency
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,678 more COVID-19 cases, 1,934 recoveries
Azerbaijan opens criminal case on crash of military helicopter of State Border Service
Iran extends condolences to Azerbaijan over military helicopter crash
Turkey talks ongoing support in demining Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Azerbaijan reveals names of dead and wounded in military helicopter crash
Iran beats sets new domestic record regarding transit of goods
President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva express condolences to families of those killed in crash of military helicopter of State Border Service
Georgian, Ukrainian, and Moldovan PMs hold meeting in Brussels
Alliance Logistics talks potential of Zangazur corridor in increasing goods transit via Azerbaijan
Uzbek Statistics Committee reveals amount of construction work done for 10M2021
Volume of gas transportation to Turkey via TANAP disclosed
Several Azerbaijani organizations address citizens on omicron coronavirus variant
It is important to cooperate with such partners as Azerbaijan - Head of EU Delegation
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for November 30
Kazakhstan’s oil-producing company to buy batteries via tender
Azerbaijan unveils numbers of mine incidents due to illegal entry into liberated lands
Turkish MoD expresses condolences to Azerbaijan on military helicopter crash victims
Russia, Italy discuss situation in South Caucasus
Georgian Government to co-op with private sector – Business Association
UK health chief says no indication of Omicron wave so far
SOCAR Turkey forecasts growth in its total revenues for 2021
Webinar conference held for youth from Central Asia (PHOTO)
Export prices of Georgian apples increase
Azerbaijani State Customs Committee comments on alleged reduction of $300 limit for orders from abroad
Kazakhstan sees increase in pension savings
Volume of loans issued by private banks of Uzbekistan increases over year
Iran shares import data
Money transfers via Kazakhstan National Bank's payment systems down
Iran increases sale of state assets
Nepal unveils first shock table facility built with Indian aid
Non-OPEC crude oil supply to continue upward trend by 2023
Iran eyes manufacturing goods in Syria, exporting final products to third countries
Azerbaijan to launch social package in 2022 – minister
UAE's ADNOC to supply full crude volumes to Asia buyers in Feb
Azerbaijani president signs order to erect monument to famous poet in Baku
President Ilham Aliyev receives Pakistani Defense Production Minister (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan repairs Shaki ferry ship at Zigh Ship Repair and Construction Yard
Azerbaijan reveals electricity generated by power plants in October 2021
Kazakhstan's banks increase lending over 10M2021
Azerbaijan to develop single mobile app for various types of insurance – Central Bank
AZAL discloses reason for Baku-Nakhchivan flight delay
Georgia’s potato exports to Central Asia up
Russia records 32,648 new daily coronavirus cases, lowest number since Oct 15
Uzbekistan shares data on loan portfolio of its banks in 10M2021
Iran eyes increase in value of exports – IRICA
Georgia’s hazelnut exports continue to increase
Kazakhstan’s Samruk-Kazyna opens tender on car renting services
Azerbaijan’s Central Bank eyes introducing innovation in insurance sector
All news