Orthodox Christians from around the world have celebrated Easter in overnight services and with holy fire from Jerusalem, commemorating Jesus Christ’s resurrection.
This year’s Orthodox Easter falls on April 8, seven days after Catholic Easter, due to the difference in calendars followed by both churches.
The day is known as Pascha and is the most important celebration from all the Christian holidays, celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. The day of Easter was declared to be the first day of the full moon following the Spring Equinox that occurs on March 21. The Eastern and Western Churches still ended up with a difference in celebration due to the use of the Gregorian calendar at first and later the Julian calendar.
Some years, both Orthodox and Catholic Churches will celebrate Easter on the same day.
On the Great and Holy Saturday, Orthodox clerics from around the world transport the holy flame from Jerusalem by plane and it’s then flown to other churches around their countries. According to tradition, the holy flame appears each year at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and is taken to other Orthodox countries.
The celebration of Pascha is the most important celebration for the Orthodox Churches. It is the center of the Christian faith, the belief that Jesus Christ, after his death on the cross in Jerusalem, was resurrected.
Pope Francis’ Easter message from the Vatican has urged for an end to the “carnage” in Syria.
The pontiff also asked God to heal the wounds in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and urged dialogue on the Korean peninsula.
He said the power of the Christian message gave hope to the deprived.
Tens of thousands of people were in St Peter’s Square to hear the Pope speak from the balcony of the basilica.
He said: “Today we implore fruits of peace upon the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long suffering land of Syria whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war.
“This Easter may the light of the risen Christ illuminate the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage in course; that humanitarian law may be respected; and that provisions be made to facilitate access to the aid so urgently needed.”