Holy Easter Saturday celebrated across Europe

Pope Francis celebrates Easter mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, March 31, 2024.
Pope Francis celebrates Easter mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Copyright Andrew Medichini/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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Pope Francis presides over the Vatican's Easter Vigil, as Germany's Easter peace marches call for end of war in Ukraine and Gaza.

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Pope Francis presided over the Vatican's sombre Easter Vigil service on Saturday night, delivering a 10-minute homily and baptizing eight people, a day after suddenly skipping the Good Friday procession at the Colosseum as a health precaution.

Francis entered the darkened, silent St. Peter's Basilica in his wheelchair, took his place in a chair and offered an opening prayer.

The evening service, one of the most solemn and important moments in the Catholic liturgical calendar, commemorates the resurrection of Jesus.

The Vatican had said Francis skipped the Good Friday procession to ensure his participation in both the vigil service Saturday night.

Scaled down processions in Jerusalem

Hundreds of Christians participated in a customary Good Friday procession through the limestone walls of Jerusalem's Old City, commemorating one of the faith's most sacred days with noticeably thinner crowds amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

The procession, which normally draws thousands of foreign visitors, was unusually local — mostly Palestinian Christians, joined by some foreigners living in Jerusalem and a few undeterred tourists.

At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Holy Saturday Mass was led by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land.

Peace marches in Germany

Over 70 marches took place in various cities across Germany, in annual Easter tradition.

This year the marches made note of the ongoing wars in Gaza and Ukraine.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also joined the message, posting on X that "we all yearn for a more peaceful world."

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