- Jul 8, 2020
For Orthodox Christians, this is normally a time of reflection and mourning followed by joyful release, of centuries-old ceremonies steeped in symbolism and tradition. But this year, Easter — by far the most significant religious holiday for the world’s roughly 300 million Orthodox — has essentially been cancelled.
Extolling religious freedom on Monday, Pope Francis said, ““What we are called to do as believers is to commit ourselves to the equal dignity of all, in the name of the Merciful One who created us.”
Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, although not attending the Human Fraternity Meeting, sent a message to the conference condemning using religion as a basis for violence.
Ukrainian Orthodox leaders on Saturday approved the creation of a unified church independent of the Moscow Patriarchate and elected a leader to head that new church — a move that could exponentially raise tensions with neighboring Russia.
Ukraine’s president on Thursday hailed the announcement by Orthodoxy’s Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople that it will move forward with granting Ukrainian clerics independence from the Russian Orthodox Church.
Pope Francis will be in the Italian city of Bari on Saturday, hosting an ecumenical prayer for peace in the Middle East.