Christians around the world raised palm branches in traditional observances launching Holy Week, which for believers marks the Passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus.
April 8, 2012Pope Benedict XVI greets the faithful after the Urbi and Orbi blessing at the end of the Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. In his Easter Sunday message, the pope urged the Syrian regime to heed international calls to end bloodshed and commit to dialogue. After celebrating Mass in St. Peter's Square, Benedict voiced hope that Easter's joy would comfort Christian communities suffering because of their faith. He denounced terrorist attacks in Nigeria that have hit Christians and Muslims alike and prayed for peace in coup-struck Mali. The pope struggled with hoarseness throughout the Mass before a crowd of more than 100,000 faithful. Only hours earlier he had led a three-hour nighttime Easter vigil inside St. Peter's Basilica.AP/AP