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Pope makes Easter plea for Ukraine peace after gunbattle

Pope Francis urged the international community to "prevent violence" in Ukraine in his Easter Sunday message after pro-Russian insurgents in the east of the country reported four people killed in a gunbattle. "We ask you to enlighten and inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine," the Catholic leader said in his prayer for the holiday, which this year coincides with Easter in the Orthodox calendar.

'Enemy' Russia doomed to fail in Ukraine: Kiev's Orthodox patriarch

Russia is an "enemy" whose attack on Ukraine is doomed to fail, Kiev's Orthodox patriarch thundered late Saturday in an unprecedented and fierce Easter broadside against Moscow. "The country which gave us a guarantee of our territorial integrity has committed an attack. God cannot be on the side of evil, and that is why the enemy of the Ukrainian people is condemned to fail," Patriarch Filaret said in his pascal oration. neo/rmb/gd

Pope washes feet of disabled, including elderly Muslim

Pope Francis washed the feet of a dozen elderly and disabled people including a Libyan Muslim during an Easter ritual in Rome on Thursday imitating Jesus Christ's humility. The 77-year-old bent down with difficulty to wash and kiss the feet of the nine Italians and three foreigners aged between 16 and 86 years old at the Don Carlo Gnocchi foundation's Santa Maria della Provvidenza centre.

Pope kicks off Easter week with Palm Sunday mass

Pope Francis kicked off weeklong observances leading up to Easter by celebrating Palm Sunday mass with some 100,000 pilgrims in a sun-drenched St Peter's Square on Sunday. Dressed in Palm Sunday red, the head of the Roman Catholic Church led a traditional procession of palms along with scores of cardinals, bishops and priests. For the observance recalling Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem shortly before his crucifixion and resurrection, worshippers carry palm and olive branches, which the Gospels says were used to greet Jesus when he entered Jerusalem.

St Jude

Lost your wallet? Making a far-off journey into the unknown? Looking for a job? The answer, for many Catholics, lies in praying to the plethora of saints. As millions of Catholics prepare for the canonisation of John Paul II, some may be wondering what role the multitude of saints in Catholicism can still play in the modern age. But for many Catholics -- who unlike Protestants and Muslims are not considered to have a direct connection to God -- the saints are important intermediaries, said Odon Vallet, a historian specialising in religion.

Pope to pray with Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem

Pope Francis will pray side-by-side with Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew in Jerusalem in a powerful sign of Christian unity during his May visit to Holy Land, the Vatican said on Thursday. The prayer will take place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built over the spots widely believed to be the sites of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The two will also sign a joint declaration when they meet on what will be the 50th anniversary of a visit to Jerusalem by two of their predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras.

Pope to pray with Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem

Pope Francis will pray side-by-side with Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew in Jerusalem in a powerful sign of Christian unity during his May visit to Holy Land, the Vatican said on Thursday. The prayer will take place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built over the spots widely believed to be the sites of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The two will also sign a joint declaration when they meet on what will be the 50th anniversary of a visit to Jerusalem by two of their predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras.

Pope accepts resignation of Germany's 'bling bishop'

Pope Francis has formally accepted the resignation of Germany's controversial bishop of Limburg, who had come under fire for his luxury lifestyle. Franz-Peter Terbartz-van Elst, nicknamed the "bling bishop" by the international media, had been indefinitely relieved of his clerical duties by Francis last year after details emerged of his high-roller lifestyle, said the Vatican Wednesday.

Vatican removes Germany's 'bishop of bling'

By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican removed a German bishop on Wednesday because he spent 31 million euros ($43 million) of Church funds on an extravagant residence when Pope Francis was preaching austerity. It said the atmosphere in the diocese of Limburg had become such that Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst could no longer carry out a "fruitful exercise" of his ministry there.

Pope accepts resignation of Germany's 'bling bishop'

Pope Francis has formally accepted the resignation of Germany's controversial bishop of Limburg, who had come under fire for his luxury lifestyle. Franz-Peter Terbartz-van Elst, nicknamed the "bling bishop" by the international media, had been indefinitely relieved of his clerical duties by Francis last year after details emerged of his high-roller lifestyle.
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