Christians in Croatia who follow the Gregorian or Western calendar were celebrating Easter across the country on Sunday.
In his homily in the Zagreb Cathedral, the Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanic, spoke of the difficult times that hit Europe and other parts of the world, stressing that Easter offered a way of overcoming contemporary difficulties.
"Today, in our earthly transience, this year's celebration of Easter finds us in a difficult time for Europe as the history of the Easter time of our continent and many other parts of the world is being written in the blood of the innocent. As humans and believers we feel the pain of every victim, and together with the entire Church we persist in prayer and invocations to the Lord to make our grieving hearts stronger and change the hearts of persons blinded with cruel fundamentalism," Bozanic said.
He said that it was beyond comprehension that "just because of their faith in Christ, Christians or the values that sprang from the Cross of Christ are still crucified."
"Witnesses who do not hide their Christian convictions in politics, culture or science are aggressively denounced in public under the guise of freedom of expression. Families that bear witness to the Christian image of man and woman, father and mother with their children, are given to understand that they are less desirable than some other forms of co-existence and are presented with a so-called new form of family life, while young believers who want to testify their belonging to Christ by assembling at Christian gatherings are portrayed as not progressive," the archbishop said.
He also spoke of the continued demographic decline, high unemployment and many people leaving in search of a better life abroad, and the closure of family-run farms.
Among the faithful attending the Mass were the Speaker of Parliament, Zeljko Reiner, the President of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zvonko Kusic, and the Apostolic Nuncio to Croatia, Alessandro D'Errico.