Ambassador hints Pope may be set to visit Ukraine

Pope Francis greets Andrii Yurash at the Vatican on Saturday (CNS/Vatican Media)

Ukraine’s ambassador to the Holy See has hinted that a papal trip to his country could happen before the Pope’s visit to Kazakhstan in mid-September. Source: Crux.

Pope Francis met with the the ambassador, Andrii Yurash, on Saturday for a private conversation at the Vatican.

In a tweet sent after the meeting, Mr Yurash quoted the Pope as telling him, “I am very close to (Ukraine) & want to express this closeness through my visit to (Ukraine).”

Mr Yurash called these “important words” from the Pope and said that “(Ukraine) for many years & especially since (the) start of (the) war has been waiting for (the) Pope and I’ll be happy to greet him before his trip to Kazakhstan.”

Pope Francis has stated his desire to visit Kyiv repeatedly and has said several times that a trip there is “on the table,” but also that such an outing would be complicated, and the Vatican must find the right moment.

In an interview with Reuters last month, the Pope said that if he went to Ukraine, he also wanted to visit Russia, and that he wanted “to go to Moscow first.”

Observers have said a trip to Russia is unlikely, and presidential spokesmen in Russia have denied that plans are underway for a potential papal visit.

However, even if he can’t make it to Russia, it’s likely that during his September 13-15 visit to Kazakhstan for a high-profile interfaith congress, Francis will meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who is known for his vocal support of the war in Ukraine and is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Francis called off a planned meeting with Patriarch Kirill in June in Jerusalem due to the diplomatic fallout such an encounter would have created, given the patriarch’s defence of the war in Ukraine on both spiritual and ideological grounds.

FULL STORY

Ukraine’s Vatican envoy hints Pope may be set to visit the country (By Elise Ann Allen, Crux

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