The number of Christians being martyred today surpasses that of the first century, Pope Francis has said.

In his Regina Caeli prayers the Holy Father said: “Persecuted Christians are the martyrs of our time. May the international community not remain mute and inert in the face of this crime.”

Last week almost 150 Kenyan Christians were murdered by al-Shabaab terrorists at Garissa university. It is estimated that between 8,00 and 10,000 Christians are killed for their faith every year worldwide.

In his address Pope Francis spoke about the meaning of Easter, saying: “In Him, through our Baptism, we are risen, we have passed from death to life, from the slavery of sin to the freedom of love.

“This is the Good News that we are called to carry to others in every environment, animated by the Holy Spirit. Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus and the hope He has brought to us is the most beautiful gift that a Christian can and must offer his brothers and sisters.

“To one and all, therefore, do not tire of repeating: Christ is risen,” he urged the crowd, adding that the Good News of the Resurrection should “shine on our face, in our feelings and in our behaviour, in the way in which we treat others.”

“We proclaim the Resurrection of Christ when his light illuminates the dark moments of our existence, and we are able to share it with others; when we know when to smile with those who smile, and weep with those who weep; when we accompany those who are sad and at risk of losing hope; when we recount our experience of Faith to those who are searching for meaning and happiness,” the Pope said, adding. “And there – with our attitude, with our witness, with our life – we say ‘Jesus is Risen,’ with our soul.Let our lives be conquered and transformed by the Resurrection.”