Pope and Zelensky speak by phone: “Deep pain for the war in Ukraine"
By Vatican News
Pope Francis on Saturday engaged in a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In a statement, Holy See Press Office Director, Matteo Bruni, said the telephone call took place as dramatic news was coming in from the areas where war is raging and from Kyiv where street fighting has erupted in a battle for the capital.
A tweet from the Ukrainian Embassy to the Holy See said Pope Francis expressed his "most profound pain for the tragic events unfolding in our country.”
In another tweet, President Zelensky said:
“I thanked Pope Francis for praying for peace in Ukraine and a ceasefire. The Ukrainian people feel the spiritual support of His Holiness”.
For the second day in a row that the Pope has used his Twitter account @Pontifex to forcefully affirm his “no to war” in Ukrainian and in Russian:
“Jesus teaches us to respond to the diabolical senseless of violence with God’s weapons: with prayer and fasting. May the Queen of peace preserve the world from the folly of war”.
On Friday, in a tweet in Ukrainian and in Russian, the Pope recalled a quote from his encyclical Fratelli tutti:
“Every war leaves our world worse than it was before. War is a failure of politics and of humanity, a shameful capitulation, a stinging defeat before the forces of evil”.
The tweets, with the image of the crucified Christ, are accompanied by the #PrayTogether #Ukraine hashtags and they accompany us as we approach the Day of fasting and prayer for peace in Ukraine called for by Pope Francis for 2 March, Ash Wednesday.
The telephone conversation took place the day after the Pope made a 30-minute visit to the Russian embassy to the Holy See to relay his concern for the conflict.
Also on Friday, the Pope called Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, asking for news on the situation in Kyiv and in Ukraine and expressing his will to do everything in his power to help. The Pope also thanked the UGCC for its closeness to the people, for its choice to remain with the people, and for having opened up the basement of the Kyiv cathedral as a bomb shelter. He also assured the Major Archbishop of his prayers and offered his apostolic blessing to the suffering Ukrainian people.