VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI, holding a tall, lit, white candle, has entered a hushed and darkened St. Peter's Basilica to begin the Vatican's Easter vigil service.
Except for the twinkle of camera flashes, the basilica was almost pitch-black as the thousands of faithful in pews awaited Benedict's arrival through the rear entrance Saturday night. After aides lit the candle, Benedict climbed aboard a raised platform that was wheeled up the long main aisle to the central altar. Christians on Easter joyously mark their belief that Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion.
Praying at the start of the service, Benedict said Easter brings hope to the faithful. On Sunday morning, he will lead Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square.