Pope presides over Easter Vigil amid security fears

2017-04-15 21:38
Pope Francis presides over a solemn Easter vigil ceremony in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. (Andrew Medichini, AP)

Pope Francis presides over a solemn Easter vigil ceremony in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. (Andrew Medichini, AP)

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Vatican City - Pope Francis is presiding over a solemn Easter Vigil ceremony marked by heightened security fears following a spate of Islamic-inspired attacks in Europe.

Holding a single candle, Francis processed down the centre aisle of a darkened St Peter's Basilica on Saturday, symbolising the darkness that fell after Jesus' crucifixion on Good Friday. When he reached the altar, the basilica's floodlights turned on, symbolising the light of Christ's resurrection.

Saturday's late-night service came just hours after Francis presided over the evocative torch-lit Good Friday procession at Rome's Colosseum, where Francis repeatedly denounced the "shame" of the blood spilled by innocent children, women and migrants in the world's conflicts, shipwrecks and other tragedies.

On Sunday, he celebrates the joyful Easter Mass in a flower-filled St Peter's Square.

Read more on:    pope francis  |  vatican city  |  religion

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