At the end of the general audience on Holy Wednesday, April 13, the Pope offered a word of encouragement to the Polish-speaking pilgrims, noting how their Easter will be special this year, “together with many Ukrainian guests.”
“Easter is a family holiday and you, by opening your homes to them, have become their family members,” he said.
Some 10 million Ukrainians are thought to have fled their homes since the start of the war. About 4.3 million have left for neighboring countries, and another 6.5 million are still within Ukraine, trying to shelter in safer areas. Of those who have left the country, some 2.5 million have found refuge in Poland.
In speaking about this situation, the Pope noted that for Christians of the Eastern rites, Easter will fall this year on April 24, according to the Julian calendar.
But nevertheless, with their Polish brothers and sisters of the Roman rite, he said that “already now all of you together contemplate the Crucifix, and look forward to Christ’s Resurrection and peace in Ukraine.”
“I bless you from my heart,” the Pope said.
Different Easter date
While various Christian leaders, including the Pope, have been pushing for a common date for Easter for Western and Eastern Christians, there are many cultural and historical obstacles.
The history of how the dates separated is here.