Expressing his concern and anxiety, Pope Francis launched a solemn appeal for peace in Ukraine and Europe during the Angelus on January 23, 2022. Without mentioning Russia by name, he declared Wednesday, January 26, a “Day of Prayer for Peace.”
“I follow with concern the rising tensions that risk dealing a new blow to peace in Ukraine and calling into question the security of the European continent with even wider repercussions,” Pope Francis confided on the sidelines of the Angelus recited at the window of the Vatican Apostolic Palace.
“I sincerely appeal to all people of good will to pray to Almighty God that all political actions and initiatives serve human brotherhood rather than partisan interests,” he explained. He then considered that those who pursue their own goals at the expense of others “despise their own vocation as human beings because we were all created brothers.”
“For this reason and with concern,” Pope Francis concluded, “I propose that next Wednesday, January 26, be a day of prayer for peace.
The Holy Father’s statement comes as tensions have been rising in recent weeks in this region of Eastern Europe. Russia is accused by the Americans and Europeans of having deployed military troops near its border with Ukraine, raising fears of a planned military attack. Moscow, on the other hand, is determined to contain NATO’s expansion on its borders.
The Pope had already launched an appeal for peace in Ukraine during the Angelus on December 12. “Weapons are not the way,” he warned, hoping for the establishment of a “serious international dialogue.
During the Regina Caeli on April 18, the head of the Catholic Church also said he was following with concern the evolution of the conflict between Ukrainians and pro-Russian separatists, calling for gestures of peace. In June, he spoke by telephone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.