Francis led the service in St. Peter’s Basilica in a reduced event due to the precautions of Covid-19.

He also called for vaccines to be shared with the world’s poorest countries.

“The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor. Nevertheless – and this is a scandal – armed conflicts have not ended and the military arsenals are being strengthened,” said the Pope.

“May efforts to resolve conflicts peacefully, respecting human rights and the sanctity of life, through fraternal and constructive dialogue in a spirit of reconciliation and true solidarity,” he added.

“May the power of the risen Lord support the peoples of Africa whose future is threatened by internal violence and international terrorism, especially in the Sahel and Nigeria, as well as in Tigray and the Cabo Delgado region.” “Especially for the young people in Myanmar who work to support democracy and have their voices heard peacefully, knowing that only love can remove hatred.”

The spiritual leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics made multiple references to the pandemic during his speech, but ultimately focused on a message of hope.

“The risen Christ is hope for all who continue to suffer from the pandemic, both the sick and those who have lost a loved one,” he said.

Francis also called vaccines an “essential tool” in the fight against Covid-19. Concerns about vaccine nationalism have increased globally in recent weeks.

“I urge the entire international community to commit, in a spirit of global responsibility, to overcoming delays in the distribution of vaccines and facilitating their distribution, especially in the poorest countries,” Francis said on Sunday.

Restrictions in the Vatican

The event marks the second year in a row that the global pandemic has prevented Easter crowds from gathering at the Vatican.

All papal services that year were attended by around 200 people on the secondary altar of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Easter Sunday is the most important day in the Christian liturgical calendar and marks the day Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion on Good Friday.

As a rule, up to 10,000 believers fill St. Peter’s Square. That year, Francis presented the blessing from the basilica’s altar to prevent worshipers from crowding into the piazza.

Speaking at an Easter Vigil on Saturday, Francis said he hoped the dark times of the pandemic would end and people could rediscover “the grace of everyday life.”

And on Good Friday he hugged and greeted children who were attending a special Stations of the Cross at the Vatican.

The Pope’s travel has been severely restricted due to the pandemic, but he traveled to Iraq for the country’s first papal visit last month.

The Saturday service started two hours earlier than usual to allow attendees to return home before the 10 p.m. curfew in Rome.