Customs – Orthodox Christians: Easter under the sign of war – Culture

Athens / Moscow (dpa) – Millions of Orthodox Christians around the world heralded the Orthodox Easter Sunday night with large midnight masses.

The war in Ukraine was discussed in many churches. “We feel the pain, it tears our hearts,” said Bartholomew I – Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria was even clearer: “Although God has shown people the way to peace, they remain separated from enmity and strife,” he said. Mankind will be led to wars that will wash the earth of blood. “We experience this picture very clearly today when we see with sadness how our fellow believers in Ukraine are killing each other.”

The Pope calls for a ceasefire in Ukraine

Pope Francis has again called for a ceasefire in the war in Ukraine. “Political decision-makers can hear the voice of the people who want peace and not escalation of the conflict,” the head of the Catholic Church told a crowd of worshipers in St. Peter’s Square in Rome on Sunday. “I renew the call for an Easter ceasefire.” On Sunday, Orthodox Christians, who have a strong presence in Ukraine, celebrated Easter. Russia had refused a ceasefire.

Putin in the service of Easter

Russian President Putin appeared at the Easter Vigil on Sunday at the Savior Cathedral in Moscow with a lighted candle in his hand. The church cares about strengthening consensus and understanding between people, Putin said in a message. Patriarch Kirill is developing “fruitful cooperation between the state and the church” and is making a “major contribution” to the implementation of traditional values ​​in society, Putin praised.

Patriarch Kirill is strongly on the side of the Russian President in the war. He also sees the actions there as a struggle against the influence of Western liberal and democratic values ​​in Ukraine. On Saturday, Kirill spoke of “bloodshed” in Ukraine – and of hope that it would end soon. The church is an important pillar of power for Putin. “In our difficult times, it takes care to strengthen consensus and understanding between people,” said the president.

Hours in Ukraine

In Ukraine, meanwhile, there was a curfew on the Orthodox Easter Vigil, as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recalled in his speech in the evening video. Worship services can be attended on Sundays from 5 p.m.

At the same time, Zelensky gave his compatriots hope for victory. It is only a matter of time before everyone in Ukraine lives safe again in peace. Russia seems stuck for years on the day between the crucifixion and resurrection, “when death triumphs and God seems to be gone,” he said. But life will defeat death and evil will be punished.

Orthodox Christians also attended the Easter Mass in Germany, for example at the Church of the Transfiguration in Baden-Baden, where people prayed for world peace and for Ukraine. Because Orthodox churches are based on the Julian calendar, Easter dates are usually different: in the Julian calendar, spring begins 13 days later than in the Gregorian calendar. For example, Orthodox Easter Sunday almost always falls later than in the rest of Christendom.

Ukrainian refugees celebrate Easter

Ukrainian war refugees celebrated Orthodox Easter at a Russian Orthodox convent in Brandenburg – also with Russian-speaking parishes. They met on Sunday at St Georg’s convent in Götschendorf, a Milmersdorf district in Uckermark.

“Most were from Ukraine,” Abbot Daniil Irbits, head of the convent, told the German Press Agency. The visitors sat down together. “They eat together, drink wine together,” said Abbot Daniil. The Russian attack on Ukraine was not an issue: “Nobody talks about politics.”

According to him, the monastery now supports 30 refugees, mostly women with small children. The refugees have already been accommodated in their apartments, the abbot said.This happened quickly because those involved, including authorities and housing companies, worked closely together. “They are all happy to help.” “Assistance to refugees does not end there:” They help us in the monastery and we help with food and hygiene items, “said the abbot.” We take care of catering. ” Russian-speaking parishioners come from Berlin every day to help.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220424-99-23135 / 10

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