Pope Remembers Lebanon, Iraq, the Holy Land in Easter Message

Pope Remembers Lebanon, Iraq, the Holy Land in Easter Message
Sfeir: The Persisting Divide Strips Easter of its Festive Atmosphere


Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged “solutions that would safeguard peace and the common good” in Tibet, the Middle East and Africa during his traditional Easter message.


“How can we fail to remember certain African regions, such as Darfur 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!” the pope said in his “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) message.


Speaking as pilgrims in St Peter”s Square braved a steady rain, the head of the world”s 1.1 billion Catholics wished that “the light that streams forth from this solemn day (may) shine forth in every part of the world.”


Easter Sunday celebrates the Resurrection of Christ after his crucifixion on Good Friday.


On Wednesday the pope broke his silence on the crisis in Tibet, calling for an end to violence there and urging “dialogue and tolerance.”


Beijing brushed off the appeal, according to Italian press reports that quoted foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang as saying Thursday: “Supposed tolerance cannot exist for criminals who should be punished by the law.”


Following the “urbi et orbi” message, the pope offered Easter greetings in 63 languages to the tens of thousands of pilgrims in St Peter”s Square and millions of viewers in 67 countries around the world.

Meanwhile, Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir said Sunday the persisting and widening divide strips Easter of its festive atmosphere.

Sfeir made the remark in his Easter sermon at Bkirki, seat of the Maronite church north of Beirut.


However, Sfeir noted, Easter spirit is in being close to God.


He pleaded with Jesus to bestow peace on Lebanon and the Middle East.


Picture: Pope Benedict XVI, at left, celebrates mass in St. Peter”s Square at the Vatican, on Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008. Prelate in background is unidentified. The pontiff rejoiced over conversions to Christianity a day after he baptized a prominent Muslim, marking Easter Sunday in a rain-drenched appearance he used to renew calls for peace in Iraq, the Holy Land and Tibet. On Easter, Christians celebrate their belief in the resurrection of Jesus two days after he was crucified. Thanks to the apostles” preaching about the resurrection, “thousands and thousands of persons converted to Christianity,” Benedict said.(AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)


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