Pope John Paul the Second has appealed for world peace in his first Easter address as Pontiff.
Pope John Paul the Second has appealed for world peace in his first Easter address as Pontiff. On Good Friday, (13 April), the Polish-born Pope departed from tradition by carrying the commemorative wooden cross the entire distance from the Coliseum to the Palatine Hill.
SYNOPSIS: Normally the cross is carried by the Pontiff only at the final stage of the journey, -- here at the Palatine Hill. But Pope John Paul II carried the Cross for the entire via Crucis -- the Way of the Cross. In a journey witnessed personally by tens of thousands of pilgrims and on television by an estimated five hundred million others, the Pope drew love and respect from the crowd. As though in homage to his personal popularity more people than ever before turned out for the procession.
The Pope stopped fourteen times on his way to the Palatine Hill marking the stations of the Cross. Each stop represents another incident of Christ's passion and death at Calvary.
Last year for the first time in many, Christian pilgrims missed out on the Papal commemoration of the Via Crucis.
A Serious illness meant Pope Paul the Sixth was unable to perform the ceremony. This year a robust, but sombre Pope John Paul II, gave prayers for the sick and suffering and passionately condemned persecution and discrimination. He linked the victims of today's oppression with the early Christian martyrs and called for an end to political suppression.