Pope Congratulates Eastern Churches for Easter

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 23, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI wished a happy Easter to all Eastern Churches that celebrate the resurrection of Christ according to the Julian calendar.

"'Christos anesti! Christos vaskries!'" (Christ has risen!), the Pope said today after reciting the midday Regina Caeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"My cordial thoughts are directed now to our brothers of the Churches of the East, which celebrate Easter today," the Holy Father said. "May the risen Lord grant all the gifts of his light and peace."

Benedict XVI noted immediately "that many people of these populations in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, are suffering because of the floods of recent days."

The Holy Father assured them of his closeness "with prayer" and hoped that "thanks to the contribution of all, they may speedily surmount these difficult moments."