While the Vatican hasn’t announced it yet, this news comes via a Facebook post from the country’s president:
Pope Francis has accepted an invitation to visit Ukraine made during a meeting Friday at the Vatican with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, according to a statement from the country’s leader.While such invitations are routinely made by heads of state meeting with the pontiff, and the Vatican has yet to confirm the pope’s acceptance, a visit to Ukraine would carry high significance given continuing international outcry over Russia’s annexing of Crimea in 2014.“I invited His Holiness to visit Ukraine and he accepted the invitation,” Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page following Friday’s meeting, which saw the president meet privately with the pope for about 22 minutes in the Vatican’s apostolic palace. The possible visit by Francis would be only the second of a pontiff to the former Soviet nation, following a five-day visit by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
And then there’s this colorful detail at the end of the report:
Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi said Francis had first greeted Poroshenko during their encounter in the Ukrainian language. The pontiff learned the greeting as a young boy while serving Mass for an Ukranian priest living in Buenos Aires, said Lombardi.
Vatican Radio, meantime, has additional details about the meeting between the pope and Poroshenko.
Photo: Vatican Radio