Orthodox Easter: celebrating without peace

Vladimir Putin regularly attends Orthodox Church ceremonies on religious holidays, however he has rejected calls for a pause in the fighting in Ukraine over Orthodox Easter on 24 April. The ecumenical patriarch of all the self-governing Eastern Orthodox churches, Bartholomew I of Constantinople, has repeatedly called for an immediate end to the invasion. Europe's press comments on this Easter celebrated as war rages.

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Libertatea (RO) /

No longer even interested in appearances

Patriarch Kyrill supports Putin unquestioningly and has also ignored all calls for a cease-fire over the Orthodox Easter weekend, ex-Romanian foreign minister and theologian Teodor Baconschi criticises in Libertatea:

“This unfortunately shows that there is not an ounce of real Christianity in Moscow, not even the hypocrisy of intelligent propaganda. For six weeks Putin has been hated throughout the free world. If he had accepted three days of 'God's peace', he wouldn't suddenly be loved, but it would have been a minimal coup for his image. His rejection is testimony to the rabid panic, complete dehumanisation and total disinterest in keeping up appearances. ... He can no longer even feign the good intentions that pave his sure path to hell.”

Novi list (HR) /

The first of many wartime Easters

Ukraine will have to endure several more holidays without peace, Novi list fears:

“What is happening now and will happen in the next few days in Mariupol could be a rehearsal for events as they will continue to unfold in Ukraine. And neither Patriarch Bartholomew nor Pope Francis nor the statesmen of the world who are trying to use what remains of diplomacy to seek a swift end to the war can help. ... Emmanuel Macron has given up trying to get Vladimir Putin to stop his aggression. Olaf Scholz is still desperately resisting all pressure to stop buying Russian energy. ... Clearly this is just the first Easter of many during which the Ukrainians and the Russians in Ukraine will celebrate under shellfire.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Warsaw becoming multicultural

In Gazeta Wyborcza journalist Jarosław Mikołajewski describes his impressions of Warsaw, which is now home to many Ukrainians who have fled the fighting:

“I walk from Ratusz Arsenał metro station to the Old Town, to the museum, to work, and ahead of me is a stream of people. ... With baskets bigger than the Catholic ones, beautifully lined with napkins and flowers. It's obvious, but I only realise it after a few seconds: it's the Easter of the Orthodox churches, the Uniate. I wish everyone Happy Easter and - as it is in life, in every neighbourhood - some people answer, some don't. ... I talk to three men who are handing out leaflets. They come from Zhytomyr, from Kharkiv, from Lviv. I learn that a new house of prayer has been established in a flat on Długa Street. Today I felt like I was living in a city of many nations. ... It was a good, euphoric feeling.”