Europe

Pope attends Good Friday service recalling Jesus' suffering

  • Pope Francis is helped to wear his skullcap as he celebrates the Good Friday Passion of Christ Mass inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 14, 2017. Pope Francis began the Good Friday service at the Vatican with the Passion of Christ Mass and hours later will go to the ancient Colosseum in Rome for the traditional Way of the Cross procession. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope Francis is helped to wear his skullcap as he celebrates the Good Friday Passion of Christ Mass inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 14, 2017. Pope Francis began the Good Friday service at the Vatican with the Passion of Christ Mass and hours later will go to the ancient Colosseum in Rome for the traditional Way of the Cross procession. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis kneels in prayer during the Good Friday Passion of Christ Mass inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 14, 2017. Pope Francis began the Good Friday service at the Vatican with the Passion of Christ Mass and hours later will go to the ancient Colosseum in Rome for the traditional Way of the Cross procession. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope Francis kneels in prayer during the Good Friday Passion of Christ Mass inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 14, 2017. Pope Francis began the Good Friday service at the Vatican with the Passion of Christ Mass and hours later will go to the ancient Colosseum in Rome for the traditional Way of the Cross procession. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis is helped to wear his skullcap during the Good Friday Passion of Christ Mass inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 14, 2017. Pope Francis began the Good Friday service at the Vatican with the Passion of Christ Mass and hours later will go to the ancient Colosseum in Rome for the traditional Way of the Cross procession. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)

    Pope Francis is helped to wear his skullcap during the Good Friday Passion of Christ Mass inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 14, 2017. Pope Francis began the Good Friday service at the Vatican with the Passion of Christ Mass and hours later will go to the ancient Colosseum in Rome for the traditional Way of the Cross procession. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis has prostrated himself in prayer during a solemn Good Friday service in St. Peter's Basilica.

The 80-year-old pope lay for several minutes before the central altar. He wore crimson-colored vestments for the day commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus.

Several times during the service, Francis bowed his head in silent reflection.

Papal preacher the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa told the faithful they were recalling the "violent death" of Jesus 2,000 years ago, even when most days bring news of violent deaths, because his crucifixion "changed forever the very face of death."

Cantalamessa called the cross the definitive "'No' of God to violence, injustice, hate, lies."

Francis was scheduled to give his own homily Friday night at the traditional Way of the Cross procession in the ancient Colosseum in Rome.