Pope Francis has joined the head of the United Nations and the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in a call for a four-day truce in Ukraine for the Triduum and Easter.
The Eastern Orthodox churches and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church follow the Julian calendar, meaning they will celebrate Easter on April 24 this year.
The appeal for an Easter truce was launched on April 19 by Antonio Guterres, secretary general of the UN, in agreement with Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk.
“Easter is a season for renewal, resurrection and hope. It is a time for reflection on the meaning of suffering, sacrifice, death — and rebirth. It is meant to be a moment of unity,” Guterres said at UN headquarters in New York
“This year, Holy Week is being observed under the cloud of a war that represents the total negation of the Easter message,” he said, calling for a four-day pause on fighting, beginning on Holy Thursday, April 21, to allow for the opening of humanitarian corridors and the safe delivery of aid.
The Vatican announced on April 21 that Pope Francis had joined the UN chief’s appeal, after the pope had called for an Easter truce in Ukraine during Palm Sunday Mass on April 10.
“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 in charge of the Nations to listen to the people’s cry for peace,” a Vatican press release said.
At the end of Mass on Palm Sunday 2022, Pope Francis urged the laying down of weapons for an “Easter truce.”
Before an estimated 65,000 people in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said that “nothing is impossible for God.”
“He can even bring an end to a war whose end is not in sight, a war that daily places before our eyes heinous massacres and atrocious cruelty committed against defenseless civilians. Let us pray about this.”