Catholics around World Celebrate Easter
Pope Benedict XVI served on Sunday an open-air Easter mass in St Peter's Square, followed by his traditional "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing.
The mass and the blessing, delivered in a number of labguages, including Bulgarian, were broadcast live across the globe.
This is the seventh Easter season of the pontificate of the German-born Pope Benedict XVI.
The Pope urged Syria's government to end the bloody year-long conflict, and spoke of the trouble in Nigeria and Mali.
On Saturday, Benedict baptized seven converts to Roman Catholicism during an Easter vigil mass at St Peter's Basilica. At the Saturday mass, he warned that mankind is "groping in the darkness, unable to distinguish good from evil".
The Roman Catholic community in Bulgaria accounts for less than 1 percent of the population but the tiny country takes pride in serving as a model for cooperation between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Rakovski, part of a small Roman Catholic pocket in central Bulgaria, has the biggest Catholic community in the country.
The visit of the late Pope John Paul II to Bulgaria in May, 2002 - part of his historic journeys to Orthodox Christian lands - is considered to be a huge step in healing 10 centuries of estrangement between Roman Catholics and Orthodox.
The subject of Catholics gained popularity in Bulgaria after the collapse of communist on November 10, 1989, in connection with the fresh disclosures of the crackdown on them under the regime.
According to Svetlozar Eldurov's book "Catholics in Bulgaria: 1878-1989", the first ever comprehensive study of that period in the history of the Catholic community in Bulgaria, most of the literature since the start of the 20th century has viewed Catholics as alien and damaging to Bulgarian national unity.
Along with the other religious denominations, Catholicism has long been just a subject of study for the purposes of scientific atheism.
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