Pope Francis prays for peace in Ukraine at an event at the Colosseum Pope Francis prays for peace in Ukraine at an event at the Colosseum   (ANSA)

Ukraine Nuncio: Pope appeals ‘from his heart’ to stop the war

The Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, offers his thoughts on Pope Francis' recent appeal for an end to the war in the country.

By Joseph Tulloch and Linda Bordoni

Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine, spoke to Vatican News on Monday about Pope Francis’ recent and urgent appeal to end the war in the country.  

The Archbishop identified three key elements of the Pope’s remarks, which were made on the in-flight press conference on the way back from his recent Apostolic Visit to Bahrain.

The Pope's appeal

The first important point, Archbishop Kulbokas said, is the intended audience of the Pope’s words.

Pope Francis "spoke a lot about his love, his affection, for both the Russian and the Ukrainian peoples. And he quoted a very well-known Russian writer, Dostoyevsky. That makes it easy to understand that Pope Francis tried to speak to the Russian listener from his heart."

The second aspect of the Pope’s remarks, the Archbishop added, was that "he used all possible means … to underscore that he is not aligned either politically or ideologically to anybody, to any system, neither to the West nor to the East." Instead, "he wanted to be very clear that he speaks as an independent person who speaks from his own heart."

The third and final point Archbishop Kulbokas made was that the Pope spoke not only as leader of the Catholic Church, but as a human being. It is not only the Gospel which speaks of the "the respect of life and the necessity of stopping the war", he said, but humanity itself.

“So that is why Pope Francis tried to speak from his human heart, from the very profoundness of his human heart, to other human hearts. Then it will depend on the listener if this message will be paid attention to. And here I would say that our mission, the mission of all the church, is to pray in order that these words of Pope Francis reach the addressees.”

Church outreach in Ukraine

The Archbishop went on to discuss the Catholic Church’s charity work in Ukraine, a topic he has also addressed in previous interviews with Vatican News. 

He highlighted two elements in particular of the Church’s outreach in the country: food distribution and the construction of shelters.  


"I know about some Catholic bishops who go themselves personally, who organise groups of people. And they deliver food to those who have nothing, because there are there are many regions - the Kharkiv region, the Zaporizhzhia region, and also some places in the Odessa region - where people don't have even bread because of electricity shortages."

"The other activity is to provide shelters. During the wintertime, this will become even more urgent. So they are trying to deliver some electric generators, some diesel, to organise mobile kitchens, to bring some windows to the places where the shelling has destroyed the buildings, the windows."

“Every parish, every diocese is active in this work.”

Listen to Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas

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08 November 2022, 14:05