Vatican reassures Ukrainian Catholics that pope did not intend to praise Russian imperialism

Vatican reassures Ukrainian Catholics that pope did not intend to praise Russian imperialism

Don’t forget your heritage, Pope Francis said before the final blessing. You come from a powerful Russia. the mighty Russia of kings and saints. The magnificent and enlightened Russian Empire of much culture and much humanity was ruled by Peter II [possibly a reference to Peter I], Catherine II. Never be ashamed of your history; you are the descendants of the great Mother Russia; uphold it; and thank you, thank you for being Russian.

The comments were delivered in Italian following the pope’s Q&A session with young people and prior to the blessing; they were not included in the speech’s official transcript, which was made public on August 26 by the Holy See Press Office.

On August 25, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Russia, young Catholics taking part in the 10th All-Russian Meeting of Catholic Youth watch a livestream of Pope Francis in the Basilica of St. Catherine of Alexandria. Credit: St. Catherine of Alexandria Basilica

At the conclusion of the youth gathering on August 27, the pope’s remarks were posted on the cathmos.ru website of the Moscow Archdiocese.

Russian czars, who grew the Russian empire in earlier ages and whom President Vladimir Putin previously used to support the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, were mentioned by Pope Francis.

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