Due to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, the Easter service at the Vatican on Sunday, April 12, was held without parishioners. The video broadcast of the service in St. Peter’s Cathedral was broadcast on several TV channels and is available on the Internet. With the traditional message Urbi et Orbi (“to the city and the world”), Pope Francis spoke not from the balcony of the Cathedral in front of a crowd of thousands, as is usually the case, but inside the Cathedral.
The Pontiff paid tribute to the victims of the coronavirus pandemic, which, according to him, but all of humanity to a severe test, and called on all countries of the world to unite. Indifference and selfishness are unacceptable, the Pontiff stressed, separately mentioning the refugees who are in “unbearable conditions” in temporary accommodation camps in different countries. He also wished a lot of strength to medical staff and other people who are at high risk of contracting coronavirus.
The Pontiff’s speech also called for the world’s poorest countries to be freed from debt in connection with the pandemic, as well as for all international sanctions to be eased. He noted that the EU countries were facing an “epoch-making task” that requires solidarity and, perhaps, the search for new ways of development.
At the same time, the Pope called for a ceasefire for participants in all conflicts, including in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.
The day before, on Good Friday, the Pope made a traditional procession in almost empty St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. He was accompanied only by five prisoners from a prison in the Northern Italian city of Padua, which was severely affected by the pandemic, as well as five doctors and nurses from the Vatican. Usually, the Procession takes place at the walls of the Colosseum in Rome, and thousands of pilgrims from all over the world take part in it every year.