Pope Francis’s statement about the Vatican’s involvement in a mission to end the war in Ukraine has caused confusion.
The Pope made the statement on the plane heading home from Hungary last Sunday, which he visited from April 28-30.
“There’s a mission going on now, but it’s not public yet. When it will be made public, I will reveal it,” Pope Francis said.
“I think peace comes when they open channels of communication. You can never achieve peace by closing them… It’s not easy,” he added.
The Pope added that he had spoken about the situation in Ukraine with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, but also with Metropolitan Hilarion, the former head of the Russian Orthodox Church in matters of international relations.
“In these meetings, we didn’t just talk about the Little Red Riding Hood. We talked about all these things. Everyone is interested in the path to peace,” he said.
However, and as reported by euractiv.com, it seems that they surprised both Kyiv and Moscow, as both sides state that they know nothing about any initiative by the Pope.
Neither the Pope nor the Vatican’s press office have given more details about Francis’ statements since then.
Metropolitan Antony of Volokolamsk was present at a speech by Francis in St. Peter’s Square, and while greeting the Pope, he stayed longer in conversation with him than with others.
Metropolitan Anthony had meetings with other Vatican officials, but it was not clear whether he would have a personal meeting with the Pope during a visit to Rome.
Asked urgently – as reported by euractiv.com – Vatican foreign affairs chief Cardinal Pietro Parolin insisted there was a plan for a mission, but that it was up to the Pope to decide when to reveal it.
Parolin, the Vatican’s number two, said he was surprised that Russian and Ukrainian officials were unaware of the plan.
Watch Pope Francis’ conversation with the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk at 1:06:00