Pope visits Russian embassy to the Holy See to express concern
Arriving by car, the pontiff met for a half-hour with the ambassador. Yesterday, Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin called for a negotiation to “spare the world from the folly and horrors of war.” Due to knee pain, the pope will not be in Florence on Sunday for the meeting of bishops and mayors of the Mediterranean.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Following Wednesday's appeal at the general audience and in view of the evolution of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Pope Francis met with Alexander Avdeev, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Vatican.
The pontiff travelled by car to the embassy, in via della Conciliazione 10, which is close to St Peter's Square, where he spent about half an hour, as reported by Vatican Press Office director Matteo Bruni.
By taking a personal initiative, breaking traditional protocol, Francis wanted to impress upon the ambassador his "concern for the war”. According to some sources, he also offered the Vatican's services to mediate, of which the Russian ambassador took note.
Meanwhile, the “tragic scenarios that everyone feared are becoming a reality”, said Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin in a statement yesterday.
“Yet there is still time for goodwill, there is still room for negotiation, there is still a place for the exercise of a wisdom that can prevent the predominance of partisan interest, safeguard the legitimate aspirations of everyone, and spare the world from the folly and horrors of war.
“As believers, we do not lose hope for a glimmer of conscience on the part of those who hold in their hands the fortunes of the world. And we continue to pray and fast — as we shall do this coming Ash Wednesday — for peace in Ukraine and in the entire world.
For its part, the Vatican Press Office announced that “Due to acute gonalgia (knee pain), for which his doctor has prescribed a period of more rest for his leg,” Pope Francis will not be able to travel to Florence next Sunday, nor lead the celebrations of Ash on Wednesday, 2 March.
The Vatican Press Office did release the schedule for the pope’s apostolic visit on 2-3 April to Malta.