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Justin Welby and Pope Francis deliver Easter Sunday messages

by Aaron James

Most Revd Justin Welby preached at Canterbury Cathedral on the day Jesus rose from the dead, while Pope Francis spoke to believers in St Peter's Square.

The leader of Anglicans worldwide framed his sermon in light of this week's Brussels bombings, where 31 people were murdered by Islamic State terrorists.

He said: "In the shadow of this week's darkness, hope can seem far far away. And fear can feel so close.

"In much of life fear is a valid and reasonable emotion, but hope always overcomes fear. We fear what we do not know, do not understand or cannot control.

"But on Easter Day we remember that Jesus Christ overcame death so that the end of all things is known.

"Jesus Christ revealed the truth so that one day everyone will live in truth. Jesus Christ put all things into the hand of God so that nothing is beyond God's control.

"In short, on Easter Day hope decisively overcame fear and we Christians are called to be witnesses to the hope that is found only in Jesus Christ."

Mr Welby also preached on Easter Saturday evening at St Thomas Church in Harty, Kent (below).


Meanwhile, Pope Francis used his Easter message to pray for an end to war across the world, lifting up Syria, Iraq, the Central African Republic, northern Nigeria, South Sudan, and the ongoing peace talks between Israel and Palestine in particular.

The leader of Catholics said: "This is the culmination of the Gospel, it is the Good News par excellence: Jesus, who was crucified, is risen!

"This event is the basis of our faith and our hope.

"If Christ were not raised, Christianity would lose its very meaning; the whole mission of the Church would lose its impulse, for this is the point from which it first set out and continues to set out ever anew.

"The message which Christians bring to the world is this: Jesus, Love incarnate, died on the cross for our sins, but God the Father raised him and made him the Lord of life and death.

"In Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, life over death."

The Pope also condemned countries refusing to help refugees fleeing war and persecution.

He said: "The Easter message of the risen Christ... invites us not to forget those men and women seeking a better future, an ever more numerous throng of migrants and refugees... fleeing from war, hunger, poverty and social injustice.

"All too often, these brothers and sisters of ours meet along the way with death or, in any event, rejection by those who could offer them welcome and assistance."

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