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Ukrainians pray for peace on Orthodox Easter

"All of us believe our sunrise will come soon," Zelensky said.

Published: April 24, 2022 4:10pm

Updated: April 24, 2022 5:31pm

Exactly two months into Russia's invasion, Ukrainians on Sunday solemnly observed Orthodox Easter with prayers for peace.

Ukrainians were unable to attend the centuries-old traditional Easter midnight mass due to a nationwide curfew amid concerns of Russian shelling.

"This great holiday gives us hope and an unwavering belief that light will defeat darkness, good will defeat evil, life will defeat death and therefore Ukraine is certain to triumph," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a video address from Kyiv's millennium-old Saint Sophia Cathedral, Reuters reported.

"All of us believe our sunrise will come soon," he said.

Hundreds of worshipers gathered at Volodymyr Cathedral in Kyiv. Some Christians cried as they prayed for an end to the war. They said Easter was more emotional due to the war.

"We've started to value everything a little differently, you value every day differently because you understand that you could lose this," Darya Barabash, 30, who is pregnant, told Reuters.

Others prayed for those who are trapped in places such as Mariupol, a port city where conditions are dire due to the Russian seige. 

Head of the Eastern Orthodox Church Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew called for the war in Ukraine to end and said, "an indescribable human tragedy is unfolding."

The Church head said he hoped Easter would be "the impetus to open humanitarian corridors, safe passages to truly safe areas for the thousands of people surrounded in Mariupol," Reuters noted.

"The same applies to all other regions of Ukraine, where an indescribable human tragedy is unfolding," Bartholomew said following an Easter service in Istanbul. "We call once again for an immediate end to the fratricidal war, which, like any war, undermines human dignity."

Over in the Vatican, Pope Francis urged Russia to "stop the attack to help the suffering of the exhausted people," The Associated Press reported.

He also lamented the invasion two months in.

"Instead of stopping, the war got worse. It is sad that in these days that are the holiest and most solemn for all Christians, the deadly clamor of arms is louder than the sound of bells announcing the Resurrection," Francis said.

Putin celebrated Easter by quietly attending midnight mass in Moscow.

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