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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 April, 2003, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Easter message dwells on Iraq
Queen on Easter Sunday
The Queen attended the Easter service at Windsor Castle
The plight of the people of Iraq was the main focus of the Easter sermons given by Britain's Christian leaders on Sunday.

The Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope, called for the status of the United Nations to be restored and for the "re-establishment of trust".

Dr Rowan Williams, making his first Easter address as Archbishop of Canterbury, warned against taking an extreme view on ether side of the war.

While the leader of Britain's Catholics, the Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, asked people to pray for the victims on both sides of the conflict.

In his sermon at York Minster, Dr Hope said he feared the Iraqis would be failed by the coalition as in post-war Afghanistan.

Archbishop of York
At least as much determination will be needed on the part of the coalition which pursued the war now to pursue the reconstruction
Archbishop of York

"Quite frankly, despite all the promises, given how things currently are in Kabul and Afghanistan, post-war does not bode well as to how things might be in Baghdad and Iraq.

"At least as much determination, commitment and resolution will be needed on the part of the coalition which pursued the war now to pursue the reconstruction."

Meanwhile, soldiers serving in Iraq celebrated Easter at regimental services.

Padre Danny Connolly, on a base near Basra, said it was an important chance for soldiers to think about the future of Iraq.

"It is all about rebirth and hope, about rebuilding and looking to the future," he said.

The most prominent figure in the Church of Scotland, General Assembly Moderator Dr Finlay Macdonald, said the price for getting rid of Saddam Hussein had been "very high".

It is all about rebirth and hope, about rebuilding and looking to the future
Padre Danny Connolly
Delivering his sermon in Camperdown parish church in Dundee, he said the "obscene sums of money" spent on bombs could have done much to relieve suffering around the world.

The Bishop of Birmingham, John Sentamu, an outspoken opponent of the war, said his views had not changed despite the British soldiers acting in a "very humane way".

"The Iraqis needed liberating but the best liberation is always from within not from without," he told BBC 1's Breakfast With Frost programme.
Pope John Paul II
May the Iraqi people become the protagonists of the collective rebuilding of their own country
Pope John Paul II

In contrast, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor argued the Iraqi people had been given "real hope for a better future" by the international community.

Pope John Paul II also referred to the war in Iraq during his 25th Easter mass as pontiff in Rome.

He called for peace in Iraq and in the forgotten conflicts of the world which threatened "a tragic clash between cultures and religions".

"With the support of the international community may the Iraqi people become the protagonists of the collective rebuilding of their own country," he told the congregation in St Peter's Square.

He has previously spoken out against the war and sent envoys to US President George W Bush in Washington and to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has also spoken out against the war.

Queen Mother

On Sunday, he said the desire to cling on to ways of thinking which felt comfortable had characterised the moral debate surrounding the conflict in Iraq.

And he warned Christians that believing too strongly that their way was right would blind them to their failings.

His sermon in Canterbury Cathedral was the culmination of four days of services, into which Dr Williams has injected more elaborate ceremonial than his predecessors.

Archbishop of Canterbury
The archbishop washing the feet of worshippers

On Thursday Dr Williams became the first leader of the Church of England to wash the feet of churchgoers at Canterbury Cathedral for 400 years.

The act commemorated Jesus's washing of the disciples' feet shortly before his crucifixion.

The Queen and other Royal Family members braved a chilly morning to attend Easter Sunday service at St George's Chapel, Windsor, where her mother is buried.

It is a poignant time for the monarch because the Queen Mother died in Easter week just a year ago.

After the service she accepted a bunch of yellow tulips from a small girl who stepped forward from about 100 people watching, to present her with the flowers.

Dr Rowan Williams
delivers his Easter Sermon from Canterbury Cathedral

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