Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Christians in Romania celebrated Palm Sunday, Explosions in Sri Lanka
Palm Sunday - On Sunday Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Christians in Romania celebrated Palm Sunday, commemorating Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem prior to his Crucifixion. Palm Sunday marks the start of the last week of Lent, known as Passion Week, which remembers the most dramatic events in the life of Jesus. On Palm Sunday, as many as 1.4 million Romanians bearing names of flowers celebrated their name day. In another development, Catholic and Protestant Christians celebrated Easter on Sunday, the biggest holiday in the Christian world. Pope Francis held a Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican and read the ‘Urbi et Orbi’ message (To the City and the World). The pontiff spoke about the violence in Libya, the crisis of the Syrian refugees fleeing to Lebanon and Jordan, the children affected by the conflict in Yemen, the sufferance of those in the conflict area in eastern Ukraine and about the crisis in Venezuela.
Message – The Romanian President Klaus Iohannis addressed Catholic and Protestant Christians the traditional Easter wish “Christ is Risen!” and made wishes to all those who celebrated their name day on Palm Sunday. Also on Sunday, the PM Viorica Dancila conveyed a message to Orthodox Christians, recalling the significance of Palm Sunday and of the Passion Week, when people should show more empathy to each other. The PM also made good wishes to those Christians who celebrated Easter on Sunday.
Colombo – Heads of state and government from around the world condemned the bomb attacks occurring on Sunday, on Easter Day for Catholics and Protestants, on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. The explosions killed and wounded hundreds of people, among whom foreign citizens. Pope Francis expressed sadness at the events and prayed for the victims of violence. The Romanian President decried the attacks in Sri Lanka and said that religious freedom and faith needed to be defended. The PM Viorica Dancila firmly condemned the bloody attacks in Sri Lanka as well. The Romanian Foreign Ministry officials announced that the authorities in Colombo had not notified the Romanian Embassy in Sri Lanka in relation to the existence of Romanian citizens among the victims of the blasts. The PM of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe also decried the attacks and announced the government would take measures to control the situation. A state of emergency was declared in Sri Lanka, an island country in South Asia, with a majority Buddhist population, where Catholics account for almost 1.2 million of a total population of 21 million.
HMS Echo - HMS Echo multi-role hydrographic survey ship arrived on Sunday in the port of Constanta (south-eastern Romania) for a 4-day stopover – the Chief of Staff of the Romanian Navy announced. During the stopover, the ship representatives will have working meetings with experts from the Maritime Hydrographic Directorate in Constanta and will have official meetings with public authorities, civilian and military officials. The presence of HMS Echo military ship in the Black Sea is part of the NATO measures meant to provide the security of Allied members on the eastern flank, according to NATO’s commitment to collective defence.
Customs – The customs authorities from Romania and the Republic of Moldova have agreed on a set of actions aimed at speeding up the crossing of the common border during the Easter holidays. To this end, a higher number of employees will be working in the customs administrations. The Romanian Border Police also called on the Bulgarian and Hungarian authorities to bring additional staff as well, if the case may be, based on the agreements on the joint control of borders. Cross border traffic has been intense these days, as the Romanian citizens who work abroad are coming home for the Easter holidays. (news translated and updated by L. Simion)