Security has been tight for all of the pope's Holy Week activities following recent truck attacks against pedestrians in London and Stockholm.
On Saturday buses carrying evacuees from Syrian towns near Aleppo were bombed, killing at least 112 people, including aid workers and children.
The ceremony, one of the most important in the Catholic tradition, symbolises the darkness after Jesus' crucifixion and the light that permeated the world with his resurrection.
Repeatedly during Holy Week services, Francis has drawn attention to the plight of war victims, refugees and migrants.
In his Easter blessing known as "Urbi et Orbi" ('To the city and the world'), the pope urged the faithful to remember "all those forced to leave their homelands as a result of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, starvation and oppressive regimes".
In his address the 80-year-old pontiff spoke out against the "grave famine" affecting South Sudan and other African countries, called for "bridges of dialogue" in Latin America and "social harmony" in Ukraine.
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He also mentioned hostilities and starvation plaguing parts of Africa.
He prayed for God's blessing on "those experiencing moments of crisis and difficulty, especially due to high unemployment, particularly among young people".
St Peter's Square was decorated with colorful spring flowers along with the flower pots of hyacinths, tulips, daffodils, pink roses on the steps leading to the church.
Pope Francis's Easter sermon was marked by an increase in security Sunday.
Francis said Easter brings "a sign in the midst of so many calamities: a sense of looking beyond, of saying don't look to a wall, there's a horizon, there's life, there is joy".