Forgiveness and solidarity in Archbishop's Easter message

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Media captionDr Barry Morgan said forgiveness and solidarity was what Easter was all about

Forgiveness and solidarity are at the heart of the Archbishop of Wales' Easter message.

Dr Barry Morgan said God stood in solidarity with the human race through Jesus and was willing to endure suffering and death on its behalf.

He cites two stories from conflicts in Syria and Rwanda, which he said illustrated the meaning of Easter.

Meanwhile, independent churches in Wales urged Christians to pray for peace in Europe.

Dr Morgan will preach at Cardiff's Llandaff Cathedral on Easter Sunday.

He said people realised the significance of what it means to believe in Jesus when they saw solidarity and forgiveness in the world, and gave two examples.

One was of the Jesuit priest Father Francis who was shot dead in the recent conflict in the city of Homs in Syria.

Before his death he had refused to abandon his Christian congregation in spite of being besieged, having little food and being in constant danger of shellfire.

"He could have run away at the last moment, but he chooses to face death to tell us something about the love of God, and a God who stands in solidarity with us," Dr Morgan said.

Pray for peace

The second example was of a Rwandan Tutsi woman, who forgave a Hutu tribesman 20 years after he cut off her arm and killed her baby during the genocide in the country.

"She found it incredibly hard to forgive, but she decides that in the end that is the only way she is going to bring violence to an end," Dr Morgan said.

"It reminds me of the risen Jesus who comes to his apostles after the resurrection, and whereas he could have chided them for letting him down, he says to them 'Peace be with you'."

In her Easter message, Fiona Gannon, of the Union of Welsh Independent Churches, said Christians today should make every effort to ensure that the "reconciliation" between European nations continues.

"Europe experienced a new life after the Second World War through the development of an economic and cultural union which has maintained peace between its countries for nearly seventy years," she said.

"Any attempt to create a rift in Europe must be resisted. We pray over Easter that peace and reconciliation will continue."

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