Ukraine: Pope Francis Makes Unprecedented Gesture As Putin's Invasion Persists

by : Shola Lee on :
Ukraine: Pope Francis Makes Unprecedented Gesture As Putin's Invasion Persists
Ukraine: Pope Francis Makes Unprecedented Gesture As Putin's Invasion Persists (Alamy)

According to the Vatican Press Office, Pope Francis went to the Russian embassy in Rome to express his concern for the current war in Ukraine.

In an unprecedented papal gesture, Pope Francis reportedly expressed his worry over the invasion of Ukraine as Russian president Vladimir Putin continues his assault on the country, with troops reportedly entering Obolon, located around nine kilometres from Kyiv city centre.


According to foreign correspondent Richard Engel, the Pope was said to have personally visited the embassy, despite suffering 'acute knee pain' which caused him to cancel public engagements scheduled for next week.

Russian ambassador Aleksandr Avdeyev said that 'Pope Francis wanted to personally ask about the situation in Donbas and Ukraine', as per the TASS news agency.

Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said the Pope spent over half an hour at the embassy, but didn't reveal what he had discussed, just that 'he went because he is concerned for the war'.

On Thursday, February 24, as Russian invasions began in Ukraine, the Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin reiterated the Pope's appeals for peace in Ukraine.

Pope Francis (Alamy)
Pope Francis (Alamy)

Parolin said the calls for peace had 'acquired a dramatic urgency after the start of Russian military operations on Ukrainian territory'.

On Wednesday, February 23, just one day before Putin's invasion, Pope Francis reportedly said the impending threat of war in Ukraine had caused a 'great pain in my heart'.

He added that 'despite the diplomatic efforts of the last few weeks' a series of 'increasingly alarming scenarios are opening up'.


The Pope went on to appeal to those with 'political responsibility', asking them to 'examine their consciences seriously'.

Vladimir Putin (Alamy)
Vladimir Putin (Alamy)

Pope Francis Blames NATO For Starting The War In Ukraine

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In the past, Ukrainian Christians have criticised Pope Francis for downplaying Russian aggression in Ukraine.

In 2016, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who is the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said that Ukrainian Catholics felt betrayed by the terms used to describe the conflict in Ukraine.


Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow are said to have referred to earlier conflict in the region as 'fratricidal', or civil conflict.

Now the Pope is urging for peace, amid the continued invasion of Ukraine, which has seen multiple missile attacks and more than 100,000 attempting to flee Kyiv.

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

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Shola Lee

Shola Lee began her journalism career while studying for her undergraduate degree at Queen Mary, University of London and Columbia University in New York. She has written for the Columbia Spectator, QM Global Bloggers, CUB Magazine, UniDays, and Warner Brothers' Wizarding World Digital. Recently, Shola took part in the 2021 BAFTA Crew and BBC New Creatives programme before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories, and features.

Topics: News, Pope Francis, Ukraine, Russia, World News, Vladimir Putin