Pope Francis joins U.N. appeal in support of Orthodox Easter truce for Ukraine

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Pope Francis supports the appeal by the heads of the United Nations and Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for a four-day “Easter truce” so those trapped in Ukraine’s war zones can be evacuated, the Vatican said Thursday.

According to a statement released by the Vatican’s press office, “The Holy See and the Holy Father join the appeal” by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who heads the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, “for a truce on the occasion of the celebration of Easter according to the Julian calendar,” which takes place Sunday.

“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,” the Vatican statement said.

This is the second time that the pope has called for a cease fire in the country invaded by Russia on February 24th.

Addressing pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square on April 10, which is Palm Sunday according to the Gregorian calendar, the pope asked for a truce, saying, “Let the weapons be put down! Let the Easter truce begin.”

While the pontiff has condemned war, he has yet to name Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin. Francis has been speaking via video conference with Kirill, Russian Orthodox patriarch, since the invasion. But, he hasn’t publicly asked the Putin-aligned spiritual head to abjure the war.

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