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Pope Francis prays to 'shed light of Easter' on Russian people

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 9, 2023 6:04 PM 2 min read
Pope Francis at the Easter Mass on April 9. (Vatican News)
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Pope Francis prayed for Ukrainians and Russians during his traditional Easter Sunday address on April 9, Reuters reported.

"Help the beloved Ukrainian people on their journey towards peace and shed the light of Easter upon the people of Russia," he said.

Reuters interpreted it as Pope Francis wishing for Russians to seek truth about the invasion.

The pontiff regularly referred to Ukraine and its people as "martyred" since Russia invaded Ukraine.

However, during the Holy Cross rite on April 8, the Vatican decided to read both the testimonies of a Ukrainian and a Russian teenager together, apparently equating them.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry's spokesman Oleh Nikolenko expressed the Ukrainian government's disappointment with the move.

"Unfortunately, we are forced to state that this year's procession was once again overshadowed by an attempt to equate the victim with the aggressor," Nikolenko said, calling the gesture "offensive."

The joint participation of a Ukrainian and a Russian "distorts the reality into which Russia plunged Ukrainians, embodying genocide against them," Nikolenko added.

The Vatican had already been under the fire of critics from Ukraine after a Ukrainian and a Russian woman carried a cross together in April 2022. The text they were supposed to read about reconciliation at the Good Friday service, deemed offensive for Ukrainian victims, had been scrapped after Ukraine's protestations.

Pope Francis wants to meet with Zelensky, Putin.
Pope Francis said in a Feb. 5 interview with Corriere della Sera that he was open to meeting both Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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