Pope Francis will visit Kyiv before traveling to Kazakhstan on September 13, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Holy See, Andrii Yurash, advanced today after meeting with the pontiff at the Vatican. The Holy See has not yet confirmed this possibility.
“Ukraine for many years, and especially since the beginning of the war, has been waiting for the pope and will be happy to greet him before his trip to Kazakhstan,” the diplomat posted on his Twitter profile, along with some photos of the meeting.
Francis has confirmed an apostolic trip to Kazakhstan from September 13 to 15 to participate in the VIII World Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
During the meeting, he revealed, Francis told him: “I want to express my closeness with my visit” to Ukraine. The Argentine pontiff has always been very concerned about the situation in Ukraine, invaded by Russia since February 24, and has confirmed on several occasions his intention to travel to that country to ask for an end to the conflict.
At the press conference on the papal plane back from Canada, on July 30, Francis reiterated this will: “We will see what I find when I get home,” he said, referring to the preparations of Vatican diplomacy for this possible trip.
Yesterday, Friday, the pontiff received in audience the new head of Foreign Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Antonij di Volokolamsk, representative of Patriarch Kirill, who has always justified and encouraged the invasion of Ukraine.
Francisco and Kirill took a step towards understanding on February 12, 2016, embracing in Havana, in the first meeting between the two leaders of these two churches in almost a millennium, since the Great Schism of the year 1054.
However, they have not hidden their differences in relation to the invasion of Ukraine and last March, in a videoconference, Francisco reproached him that wars are always unjust.
“Wars are always unjust because the one who pays for them is the people of God. Our hearts cannot help crying before children, murdered women, before all the victims of war. War is never the way,” the pope argued before the patriarch, a known supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Francis, with some knee problems that often force him to use a wheelchair, has decided to confirm this apostolic trip to Kazakhstan.
Both religious leaders could coincide in this event, according to some specialized media, although this possibility has not yet been confirmed by the Vatican or by Moscow.
In the official agenda of the pontiff in Kazakhstan, a space has been reserved at noon on September 14 for “private meetings with some religious leaders”, without providing further details.