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Chickcomics.com welcomes all opinions from any religion or viewpoint in the common appreciation of Chick tracts. This blog, however, will highlight religious events and controversies that would be of special interest to regular Chick readers. You don't have to agree with them or each other, but if you read Chick tracts or Battlecry, you might expect these type stories to be addressed. (Sorry, no personal attacks allowed.) All main postings are from ChickComics.com writers and any responses are from the public

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter 2012

Christians all over the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI implored the Syrian regime Sunday to heed international demands to end the bloodshed and expressed hope that the joy of Easter will comfort Christian communities suffering because of their faith.

Benedict, struggling with hoarseness and looking tired, celebrated Mass on Christianity's most joyous holy day on the flower-adorned steps of St. Peter's Basilica, before a crowd of faithful that swelled to far over 100,000 by the end of the 2-hour-long ceremony.

Only hours earlier the pontiff, who turns 85 on April 16, had led a long nighttime vigil service in the church. There have been concerns over his health, and he has recently used a cane in public appearances. He no longer walks down the basilica's long aisle, traveling instead aboard a wheeled platform pushed by aides.

At the end of Sunday's Mass, Benedict moved to the basilica's central balcony to read his Easter message "to the entire world," as he put it, delivering a ringing appeal for peace in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, and in Africa, citing coup-struck Mali and Nigeria, where Christians and Muslims alike have been hit by terrorist attacks.

Christians throughout the world on Easter celebrate their belief that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after his crucifix, and the day symbolizes hope. Benedict said that Christ is "hope and comfort in a particular way for those Christian communities suffering most for their faith on account of discrimination and persecution."

Sectarian violence in Iraq, often aimed at Christians, has prompted an exodus over the last years of many from the sizable Christian community there.

In Jerusalem, thousands of Christians gathered for Easter celebrations, crowding into one of Christianity's holiest churches, worshipping, singing and praying. Catholics and Protestants took turns to hold ceremonies within the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built on the site where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried.

Thousands of Palestinian Catholics smashed egg shells against each other, representing Jesus' emerging from his tomb. They ate circular bread symbolizing his crown of thorns and greeted each other with the Arabic felicitation, "Christ has arisen," prompting the response: "Verily he has arisen."

Meanwhile, other Christians belonging to Eastern Orthodox churches, who celebrate Easter using a different calendar from their Catholic and Protestant brethren, marked Palm Sunday.

Several dozen Ethiopian Christians who also use the older calendar gathered in a niche of the Sepulcher church, wearing long white robes, decked in white, blue and black rimless hats. They sang in their ancient language, marking off beats with a silver instrument that made a rattling sound.

In the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II attended a traditional Easter Sunday service with three generations of the royal family at Windsor Castle. The monarch was joined on Sunday by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, and three of her children – Princes Andrew and Edward, along with Princess Anne. Her granddaughters, Princess Eugenie and Lady Louise Windsor, were also among those attending the service at St. George's Chapel.

Dressed in a lilac, green and white Stewart Parvin silk dress with a lilac coat and matching hat by Philip Somerville, Elizabeth took time to greet well-wishers gathered outside the chapel after the service. See Chick's LIGHT OF THE WORLD.

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