Archbishop of Canterbury's Easter sermon refers to Kate and King Charles

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
[PA Media]

The Archbishop of Canterbury has opened his Easter sermon with a message about King Charles and the Princess of Wales, who are both being treated for cancer.

"In each of our lives there are moments that change us forever," Justin Welby told Canterbury Cathedral.

He spoke of listening with "compassion and sympathy" as Catherine told of her cancer diagnosis.

"We pray for her and the King in their dignified response and we pray for all those who are suffering the same way."

He went on to call for "love in action" to help those caught up in conflict around the world.

"Evil and pain" must be confronted, he said.

Mr Welby said the church was not party political and Christian belief calls for "courageous action" to address wrongs "whether it is the evil of people smugglers, or county lines in our schools, or the pain and suffering in a family riven with grief or rage or substance abuse."

He said: "Let us seek action amongst the starving children of Gaza and Sudan - and the parents who try desperately to find food for them, action for the hostages held by Hamas, action for those in the trenches and cities and fears of Ukraine, action in at least 30 but probably closer to 50 other places of armed conflict, action for the 25-30% of children in this country in poverty."

He continued: "We act because of what God says, found in the bible and to be lived out by the church - in over 30,000 social projects and in 8,000 food banks."

In his Easter message, the Archbishop of Wales Andrew John called for an end to the "futile" war in Gaza.

"[I hope] that all involved find a way beyond it in which they can live together in mutual trust," he said.

In the Vatican, Pope Francis delivered his annual Urbi et Obi blessing after celebrating Easter Sunday Mass.

He called for a ceasfeire in the Gaza Strip as part of his traditional Easter message.

The 87-year-old pontiff also led the the Easter Vigil at St Peter's Basilica on Saturday, despite withdrawing from the Good Friday procession the previous day, reviving questions about his health.

A statement from the Vatican said the pope had decided to rest as a precautionary measure and there was no particular concern.