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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis calls upon Ukraine to respect the Orthodox Lavra Monastery

Pope Francis asked Ukraine to respect places of worship that are in their territory but fall under the Moscow Patriarchate, such as the Orthodox Lavra Monastery.

I think of the Orthodox nuns of the Lavra in Kyviv. I ask the warring parties to respect religious sites. Consecrated nuns and consecrated people, be they of any denomination, are the support of God's people.

However the Pope had made a mistake because monks live in the Lavra monastary. Nevertheless, his message is in response to Patriarch Kirill's call for help a few days ago. He asked international authorities to be aware of the events in Ukraine, where authorities want to evict the historic monastery.

Minutes before Pope Francis responded to this appeal, he had been continuing his cycle of catechesis on evangelization. He explained why all Christians are called to envangelize and that they do not have greater dignity than others. 

Who has more dignity in the church, the bishop, the priest? Neither. We are all Christians at the service of the other.

This was his first public appearance since the 10th anniversary of his papal election. He took the opportunity to express his gratitude for the outpouring of appreciation and affection that came from his country. 

I would like to particularly thank all the people belonging to the political parties and social groups from my country who have joined together to sign a letter expressing their greetings for the tenth year of my pontificate. Thank you for this gesture. I would like to tell you that just as you have come together to sign this letter, how nice it is that you have come together to talk, to discuss and to carry the country forward.

There was a festive atmosphere at the end of the audeince and many well-known songs were played. For example, Beethoven's “Ode to Joy” and the soundtrack of the film, The Mission.