Christians mark Easter at Jerusalem site of Jesus' resurrection

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Millions of Christians worldwide are celebrating the most important holiday of their faith, Easter Sunday, when they pay tribute to their belief in the resurrection of Christ after his death by crucifixion.

It is an inescapable truth of history that, as on virtually every Easter, this time of peace and joy is celebrated when violence and despair afflict too many of our fellow citizens of the world.

The service, held by Wayzata Community Church, included communion, bonfires, music - and plenty of dogs.

"We'll be celebrating the love of God that is expressed through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and his resurrection and how this is shared with all of humanity as a gift from God". The whole relationship with Christianity is that point. Sermons in churches include lessons from the Holy Bible and sacrifices of the Christ, who paid for the sins of the people so that they could attain salvation.

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Traditionally, the pope gives no homily during the late-morning Easter Mass, saving his reflections for the "Urbi et Orbi" a solemn message delivered "to the city and to the world" - at noon from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.

Perhaps today, too, is an appropriate time to reflect that the Christian faith that galvanizes so many, especially in this holy season, is in fact a minority faith in the world at large. "Our washing was itself a symbol of dying to a dead world and rising to a new life", the bishop said. It says that those things do not enslave us. According to tradition the flame appears each year at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and is taken to other Orthodox countries. The faithful, including women and children, thronged churches to attend midnight mass.

The cathedral is a potent symbol of the revival of observant Christianity in Russian Federation after the fall of the officially atheist Soviet Union.

Irinej evoked Kosovo, Serbia's former province which declared independence in 2008.