Pope Francis condemned the cruelty of the warfare in Ukraine on Saturday at an Easter vigil Mass he attended nonetheless at which he did no longer preside, presumably thanks to leg agonize that has compelled him to curtail activities.

The Mass changed into once attended by Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of Melitopol, who changed into once detained by Russian forces last month and later freed in a prisoner alternate.

Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re replaced the pope as the principle celebrant at the provider, which interested a procession in finish to-total darkness up the central nave of Christendom’s perfect church.

The pope sat at the front of the basilica in an infinite white chair on the aspect, looked alert and stood at some point of the reading of the gospel.

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He learn his homily while sitting nonetheless in his unprecedented declare.

Pope Francis attends the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on April 16, 2022 in Vatican City, Vatican. This three hundred and sixty five days’s Easter celebrations at the Vatican encompass the participation of broad numbers of devoted following two years of restrictions due to the the pandemic. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

The pope departed from his ready textual instruct material to acknowledge the presence of Fedorov, his family and three Ukrainian parliamentarians sitting in the front.

He spoke of the “darkness of warfare, of cruelty”.

“All of us pray for you and with you. We pray on myth of there’s so vital struggling. We’re going to get a draw to simplest give you our company, our prayers and insist to you ‘courage, we accompany you,’” Francis said.

He ended by asserting “Christ is risen” in Ukrainian.

Presiding at the Mass, which changed into once attended by 5,500 americans, would comprise required prolonged durations of standing at some point of the chanting and gospel readings, genuflecting at the altar and baptising seven grownup converts.

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The 85-three hundred and sixty five days-veteran pope suffers from sciatica, which causes agonize in one leg and outcomes in a pronounced limp. No longer too prolonged previously Francis moreover has had a flare up of agonize in his superior knee.

The condition looks to reach aid and wander.

Click to play video: 'Plans for Pope Francis’ visit to Canada not yet finalized' Plans for Pope Francis’ visit to Canada no longer but finalized

Plans for Pope Francis’ visit to Canada no longer but finalized

A programme issued by the Vatican on Friday listed the pope as chief celebrant at the Saturday evening provider. The Vatican gave no official clarification for the swap.

On Friday afternoon, the pope changed into once neatly ample to walk the total aisle each at the origin and the pause of a Exact Friday provider in the basilica nonetheless he did no longer prostrate himself on the bottom as he most continuously does at some point of that provider.

He needed to curtail a couple of of his actions at some point of a commute to Malta at the origin of April and moreover needed to put a question to a cardinal to face in for him at a Mass in December.

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The Holy Week activities, which culminate on Sunday, mark the principle time since 2019 that the final public has been allowed to wait on following two years of COVID-19 restrictions.

Pope Francis presides the Via Crucis (Formulation of the Tainted) procession at the Colosseum (Colosseo) on Exact Friday, on April 15, 2022 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Antonio Masiello/Getty Images)

On Easter Sunday, the very best day in the Christian liturgical calendar, he’s thanks to claim Mass in St. Peter’s Square after which bid his twice-yearly “Urbi et Orbi” (to town and the area) message and blessing.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Bettering by Christina Fincher)


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