POPE John Paul II celebrated the holiest day of the Christian calendar with a call for a new world order.
Eclipsing all turnout predictions, a cheering crowd of 150,000 people packed St Peter’s Square for the ‘urbi et orbi’ message, Latin for ‘to the city and to the world’.
The Pope expressed his wish for a resolution to conflicts in Africa and Latin America and an end to “the persistent tensions affecting to Middle East, vast areas of Asia, and some parts of Europe”.
He made an impassioned appeal that the Easter message of life’s victory over death would lead to cross-cultural dialogue, the acknowledgement of the value of human life and “effective responses to the increasingly-felt demand for justice and equal opportunity in all areas of society”.
Despite a gruelling Holy Week schedule, the 79-year-old Pope sounded energetic amid the veritable garden of 50,000 flowers and bulbs from the Netherlands that adorned the altar.
He imparted Easter greetings in 61 languages, wishing English speakers a “blessed Easter in the joy of Jesus Christ, the risen Lord and saviour of the world!”
This Jubilee Year, the traditional open-air Easter Mass marked a return to a tradition of medieval origin.