The Holy See and the Pope join the UN appeal for an Easter truce in Russia’s war on Ukraine. The Churches of the East, according to the Julian calendar, will celebrate Easter on April 24.
The request was promoted by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, in agreement with His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and was launched April 19.
Speaking to journalists in front of the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, Guterres noted, “Instead of a celebration of new life, this Easter coincides with a Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine.”
The intense concentration of forces and firepower continues to make the battle more violent, bloody and destructive, he said. “This cannot be allowed to happen. Hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance.”
“I am calling for a four-day, Holy Week humanitarian pause, beginning on Holy Thursday and running through Easter Sunday, April 24, to allow for the opening of a series of humanitarian corridors,” the UN Chief said.
The Holy See released a statement on Thursday (Holy Thursday for the Eastern Churches), adding its voice to the UN appeal:
Last Palm Sunday, Pope Francis had called for an Easter truce, in order to achieve peace. The Holy See and the Holy Father join the appeal that Mr. Antonio Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations, in agreement with His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, launched on 19 April, for a truce on the occasion of the celebration of Easter according to the Julian calendar, this coming 24 April.
In the knowledge that nothing is impossible for God, they invoke the Lord so that the population trapped in war zones may be evacuated and peace may soon be restored, and they ask those leading the nations to listen to the people’s cry for peace.
Pope’s appeal on Palm Sunday
On his celebration on Palm Sunday, Pope Francis already called for an Easter truce to achieve peace, saying, “Put the weapons down. Let an Easter truce start. But not to rearm and resume combat but a truce to reach peace through real negotiations open to some sacrifices for the good of the people.”