Boris Johnson has said the war in Ukraine amplifies Jesus Christ’s message of good triumphing over evil, with the nation’s independence dominating political and religious Easter messages on Sunday.
Delivering his speech on Twitter, the prime minister paid tribute to “the Christians of Ukraine, whether they’re marking Easter today, or its Orthodox equivalent later this month, for whom Christ’s message of hope, the triumph of life over death and good over evil, will resonate this year, perhaps more than any other”.
He also spoke in Ukrainian, referencing Psalms 31:24 by telling viewers “Be strong and have courage in your heart, you all who trust in the Lord.”
He added: “Easter tells us that there is light beyond the darkness, that beyond the suffering lies redemption.”
The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Pope Francis also referenced the Ukraine conflict on Sunday.
Giving his Easter address from Canterbury cathedral, Welby said: “Ukrainians have woken up to the end of the world as they knew it.
“Now they are awakened by the noises of war, and the sickening reality of terror. They wake up to mortal fear.”
He added: “Let this be a time for Russian ceasefire, withdrawal and a commitment to talks. This is a time for resetting the ways of peace, not for what Bismarck called blood and iron. Let Christ prevail. Let the darkness of war be banished.”
The pope addressed about 100,000 people at the Vatican, and told of his anguish about the conflict.
He said: “Our eyes, too, are incredulous on this Easter of war. We have seen all too much blood, all too much violence. Our hearts, too, have been filled with fear and anguish, as so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves away in order to be safe from bombing.
“May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, so sorely tried by the violence and destruction of the cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged.”
The pontiff spoke before a crowd on Easter Sunday for the first time since the pandemic began, and applause erupted from the crowd in St Peter’s square upon his mentioning of Ukraine.
He denounced “the flexing of muscles while people are suffering” and appealed to with the world to “please, please, let us not get used to war”.
“Let us all commit ourselves to imploring peace, from our balconies and in our streets,” he said. “May the leaders of nations hear people’s plea for peace.”
The Labor leader, Keir Starmer, also released a video, telling Christians around the world: “I know you draw inspiration from the life of Jesus and the Easter story which is a message of overcoming adversity and of hope. Or light overcoming darkness.”