Vatican Foreign Minister: Papal visit to kyiv in August “possible” | Nation
ROME — Pope Francis could soon join the dozens of world leaders who will visit kyiv, Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher suggested to Italian television channel Rai1 on Friday evening.
Gallagher said the 85-year-old pontiff would discuss a visit to Kyiv with his staff after returning from Canada at the end of the month. When asked if a papal mission to Ukraine could be considered as early as August, Gallagher replied, “It’s possible, I wouldn’t rule it out.”
The archbishop stressed, however, that everything would depend on the pope’s health. The pontiff, who has knee problems and has been seen frequently in a wheelchair in recent weeks, was forced to cancel a planned trip to Africa in early July but still hopes his visit to Canada later this month will take place.
Pope Francis has been calling for peace in Ukraine for months and was invited to Kyiv by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.
“The pope is convinced that if he could make a visit it would have a positive effect,” Gallagher said, adding that Francis was also open to visiting Moscow.
The pope is due to attend the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan in mid-September, where he is likely to meet Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The pope had been hoping to meet Kirill for some time, but the patriarch’s harsh rhetoric in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine ultimately made a meeting impossible.