Pope Francis sent his Easter greetings to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, as the Orthodox world celebrated Easter on April 24. The Moscow Patriarchate reported the full version of the Pope’s message on its website. The Bishop of Rome called for prayer “for each other, so that we can bear a credible witness to the Gospel message.”
Dear Brother! May the Holy Spirit transform our hearts and make us true peacemakers, especially for war-torn Ukraine, so that the great Easter passage from death to new life in Christ may become a reality for the Ukrainian people, who long for a new dawn that will end the darkness of war.
Pope Francis’ message to the Orthodox Patriarch comes two months to the day after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Pope also sent a brief letter of Easter greetings to the other Patriarchs of Eastern Churches.
Before praying the Regina Caeli on Sunday, the Pope wished Eastern Christians a happy Easter from the window of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. He also renewed his call for an Easter truce in Ukraine.
The Easter message from the Pope to Kirill comes a few days after the announcement that the plan for the two leaders to meet in June has been suspended, since such a meeting could, in the words of the Pontiff, “lead to a lot of confusion.”
On March 16, the head of the Catholic Church and the Patriarch of Moscow met by videoconference on the “war in Ukraine and on the role of Christians and their pastors who must do everything so that peace reigns.”
“The Church should not use the language of politics, but the language of Jesus,” the Pope said.
Considered to be close to the Kremlin, Patriarch Kirill has been the subject of strong criticism since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.