Pope makes surprise visit to Russian Embassy to the Vatican
The Vatican press office confirmed that Pope Francis made a visit to the Russian Embassy to the Holy See to express his concern about the fighting in Ukraine on Friday morning.
The Russian Embassy to the Holy See is a short distance outside of Vatican City situated on the road leading into St. Peter’s Square, and this was seen by most as a strong personal papal initiative.
Aside from saying the visit lasted just over an hour, the Vatican provided no further information nor distributed any video or photographs. The pope was seen leaving the embassy building seated in the front seat of a small, white car.
Ambassador Aleksandr Avdeyev, the Russian diplomat at the embassy, told Russian media that “the pope personally wanted to ask about the situation in Donbas and Ukraine” and expressed his great concern about the humanitarian situation and conditions of the population. He reportedly urged for the care of children, the sick and the people who were suffering.
The pope’s surprise and unprecedented visit to the embassy took many Vatican watchers by surprise, as it is normal protocol for ambassadors to come to the Vatican to meet with the pope. However, Pope Francis has in the past dropped in to see people in Vatican offices outside the walls of the tiny state when he has urgent matters he wishes to discuss.