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Pope and Ukraine president again talk on phone

POPE-FRANCIS-President-of-Ukraine-Vladimir-Zelenskyi

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA - Photographer RM | Shutterstock

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 08/12/22

Nearly 6 months into the war, the Holy Father and Zelensky have spoken again.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke for a third time with Pope Francis via telephone, according to a tweet from the president. They spoke Friday, August 12, as the war in Ukraine is nearing its six-month mark.

Then in a separate tweet, the Ukrainian Ambassador to the Holy See, Andrii Yurash, spoke of the call:

Yurash has said that the pope will make a visit to Ukraine in September, along with his trip to Kazakhstan.

He made this announcement via tweet on August 6; the Holy See has not made an official announcement.

The pope has expressed his desire to go to Ukraine a handful of times, but has maintained that the timing would need to be right so that his trip does not bring further harm to the country.

The trip to Kazakhstan is for the 7th Congress of World Leaders and Traditional Religions organized there on September 14 and 15. It’s not certain if Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill will also participate in this event.

In an interview with Cath.ch on August 11, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, remained cautious about the prospect of a meeting between Francis and Kirill at that event, emphasizing that if “the pope first meets the Russian Orthodox Patriarch before visiting Ukraine [… this] would be perceived as very difficult in Ukraine.”

On the other hand, the patriarch, a great supporter of Vladimir Putin, would likely be hesitant to meet the Pope if he had just visited Kiev.

Francis and Kirill were supposed to meet in June, but in the context of the war, those plans had to be cancelled. It would have been only the second time that the pope and the Russian patriarch meet.

Constant appeals

Vatican News noted that the pope and President Zelensky have spoken twice before by phone and video call. And the pope has made countless appeals for peace in Ukraine, pleading for an end of the war in nearly every Sunday Angelus address and other public addresses.

Speaking to the Italian Parliament on March 22, President Zelensky spoke about his conversation with Pope Francis, adding that the pope had said “very important words.”

Earlier, on February 26, two days after Russia’s invasion, the two men spoke by phone.

During that conversation, Pope Francis expressed to the president “his deepest sorrow for the tragic events that are taking place in the country.”

Shortly afterward, President Zelensky said, “I thanked the pope for praying for peace in Ukraine and for a truce. The Ukrainian people feel the spiritual support of His Holiness.”

Tags:
Pope FrancisUkraine
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