Pope Francis opens Holy Door to launch Year of Mercy
Pope Francis has inaugurated an extraordinary Jubilee by opening the massive bronze Holy Door of St Peter's Basilica in front of a crowd of worshippers. The ceremony officially started the Holy Year of Mercy that was sparingly announced by the pontiff in March and is to run until November 2016.
"To enter that door means discovering the depth of the Mercy of the Father who welcomes us all," Francis told an opening Mass in St Peter's square that featured prayers in Chinese, Arabic, French, Swahili and other languages. For the first time two popes participated at the ceremony, as Francis was flanked by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The ancient Ukrainian icon from the Polish town Yaroslaw "Doors of Mercy" was brought to the Vatican for the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.