On Easter, Pope condemns 'vile' Syrian attack

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Tens of thousands of faithful are braving heavy security checks for a place in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican as Pope Francis celebrates Easter Sunday Mass. "By his resurrection, Jesus Christ has set us free from the slavery of sin and death, and has opened before us the way to eternal life".

Pope Francis urged an end to "horror and death" in Syria on Sunday as he began his traditional Easter mass in Rome followed by his Urbi et Orbi message to the city and the world. Hundreds of police and security forces stood guard.

Francis also condemned the bomb blast on a crowded Syrian bus convoy that killed at least 112 people outside Aleppo as an "ignoble" attack, asking God to bring healing and healing and comfort to civilian population in what he called the "beloved and martyred Syria".

The pope used part of his homily at St. Peter's Basilica to address violence around the world amid a rise in terrorist attacks.

From the same balcony from where he first appeared to the world on the night of his election in 2013, Francis spoke of God walking "beside all those forced to leave their homelands as a result of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, starvation and oppressive regimes".

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Francis has repeatedly championed the dignity of migrants fleeing war, persecution or poverty.

Francis spoke of Europe's problems, mentioning the continued conflict and bloodshed in Ukraine, and prayed for hope for those struggling with high unemployment, especially young people.

Normally, the pope doesn't give a homily during Easter Mass. This year, though, he broke with tradition.

He gestured toward the potted hyacinths, tulips and daffodils, which came from the Netherlands, and which were arranged in neat rows on the steps leading to the imposing church. "This is pretty, but it's not this, it's more than this", Francis said.

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