Pope Francis Visits Russian Embassy to Plead for Peace

Pope Francis reacts during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on February 16, 2022. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP) (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty

ROME — Pope Francis visited the Russian Federation Embassy to the Holy See on Friday where “he expressed his concerns over the war in Ukraine,” reported L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s daily newspaper.

The visit lasted over 30 minutes but the Holy See Press Office offered no further details on the content of conversations between the pontiff and embassy officials.

The Russian Embassy to the Holy See is located on Via della Conciliazione, just a stone’s throw away from Vatican City State.

On Thursday, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, lamented that the “tragic scenarios that everyone feared are becoming a reality” with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“In light of today’s developments in the crisis in Ukraine, we see even more clearly the timeliness of the clear and heartfelt appeal that the Holy Father Francis made yesterday at the conclusion of the general audience,” Cardinal Parolin said in a special video message in Italian, Spanish, and English.

“The pope spoke of ‘great sorrow,’ ‘anguish and concern,’” the cardinal declared. “And he also urged all the parties involved to ‘refrain from any action that would cause even more suffering to the people,’ ‘destabilizing coexistence between nations’ and ‘bringing international law into disrepute.’”

“This appeal has taken on dramatic urgency following the beginning of Russian military operations in Ukrainian territory,” Parolin said.

“The tragic scenarios that everyone feared are becoming a reality,” he stated. “Yet there is still time for goodwill, there is still room for negotiation, there is still a place for the exercise of wisdom that can prevent the predominance of partisan interests, 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,” the cardinal said. “And we continue to pray and fast — as we shall do this coming Ash Wednesday — for peace in Ukraine and in the entire world.”

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