Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury hold virtual Easter sermons

12 April 2020, 14:52 | Updated: 12 April 2020, 16:17

Pope Francis delivers his message during Easter Sunday Mass inside an empty St. Peter's Basilica
Pope Francis delivers his message during Easter Sunday Mass inside an empty St. Peter's Basilica. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Pope Francis and other church leaders have broken centuries of tradition by holding Easter addresses online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pope and other church leaders have given their annual Easter addresses over the internet as the coronavirus lockdown continues.

Breaking centuries of tradition, Pope Francis live-streamed his Easter Sunday mass to the world's 1.3 billion Catholics.

Normally, St Peter's Square would be awash in fresh flowers on Easter Sunday, which is the holiest holiday in the Christian calendar.

Poppe Francis instead celebrated Easter Mass inside the largely empty basilica, with the faithful watching on TV at home.

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Justin Welby recording his Easter Sunday sermon in the kitchen of his flat
Justin Welby recording his Easter Sunday sermon in the kitchen of his flat. Picture: PA

He spoke in front of the tomb of St Peter, underscoring the solitude confronting all of humanity amid lockdown orders and quarantines to prevent contagion.

At his Easter Vigil on Saturday night, Francis urged the faithful to not let the darkness and sorrow of the Covid-19 pandemic rob them of hoping for a better future.

He said: "Tonight we acquire a fundamental right that can never be taken away from us: the right to hope.

"It is a new and living hope that comes from God."

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has led the Church of England's first national digital Easter service from his kitchen.

Read more: Nurses told to refuse to treat coronavirus patients unless they are given adequate PPE

Speaking on his Youtube channel, he said: "After so much suffering, so much heroism from key workers and the NHS, we cannot be content to go back to what was before as if all is normal.

“There needs to be a resurrection of our common life.”

The Queen also issued an Easter message yesterday, insisting the holiday was not cancelled and the parable of the resurrection can give us hope that the world can overcome the virus.

The archbishop of Panama took to the air and blessed his nation via a helicopter.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church in the Philippines urged people not to kiss.

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