Pope Francis received in an audience the new Ambassador of Ukraine to the Holy See, Andriy Yurash, on April 7, 2022. The diplomat, an emergency appointment by the Ukrainian government on March 3, a few days after the beginning of the Russian offensive, presented his credentials to the pontiff.
Although the new Ukrainian representative is not a diplomat by training, he is a specialist in religious issues. A graduate in journalism and political science from the Ivan Franko Lviv National University, Andriy Yurash has long worked in the academic field. In 2014, he joined the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture to head the Department of Religious and Ethnic Affairs, and then became head of the Department of Religious Affairs of the Cabinet of Ministers Secretariat in 2020.
The new Ukrainian ambassador to the Holy See, who has been very active since his arrival on the night of March 3 to 4, 2022, had previously been received at the Vatican on March 4. He met with Archbishop Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, and with Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.
A meeting at the Bambino Gesú Hospital
A few days later, on March 18, he organized a meeting between Pope Francis and Ukrainian children at the Bambino Gesú hospital.
On March 23, he officially presented his credentials to Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, substitute of the Secretariat of State. During the general audience on March 30, he also appeared alongside Pope Francis with Ukrainian children.
Andriy Yurash, 53, originally from Chpola, a small town south of Kiev, is married and has three children. One of his sons, Sviatoslav Yurash, was elected to parliament in 2018 at the age of 22. He is currently fighting on the front lines near Kiev.