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Anglican leader praises persecuted Christians in Easter sermon

Anglican leader praises persecuted Christians in Easter sermon

London (AFP) - Justin Welby, the leader of the world's Anglicans, was to praise the resilience of persecuted Christian minorities around the world in his Easter sermon on Sunday.

The Archbishop of Canterbury was also to highlight the suffering of people in Syria, Ukraine, Rwanda and Pakistan.

Welby's Easter address at Canterbury Cathedral in southeast England will be his second since becoming the spiritual leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans last year.

"In Syria mothers cry for their children and husbands. In the Ukraine neighbours cry because the future is precarious and dangerous. In Rwanda tears are still shed each day as the horror of genocide is remembered," the former oil executive was to say.

"In this country, even as the economy improves there is weeping in broken families, in people ashamed to seek help from food banks, or frightened by debt. Asylum seekers weep with loneliness and missing far away families. Mary continues to weep across the world."

The Church of England's spiritual leader was also expected to touch on the persecution of Christian minorities.

"Their certainty that Jesus is alive enables them to face all horrors with joy," the archbishop was to say.

"I remember sitting in a room with the bishop who had come over from Pakistan soon after the attack in September on a church in Peshawar.

"I asked how Christians were coping with the fear that such attacks brought, and wondered if there had been anyone in church the week following the attack. 'Oh yes' the bishop replied, 'there were three times as many people the next week'.

"Such action is made possible only by the resurrection. The persecuted church flourishes because of the resurrection."

The 58-year-old was to say the Easter story "gives us hope where we were in despair, faith where we were lost, light where we were in darkness, joy where we were entirely in sorrow."