After his meeting with the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, the Secretary of the Holy See for Relations with States, Msgr. Gallagher, gave a press conference in kyiv on Friday 20 May. He renewed the Pope’s closeness to the Ukrainians, and recalled how the Holy See was persevering in its efforts to restore peace, on the 86th day of war.
Delphine Allaire – Vatican City
In this address, Bishop Paul Richard Gallagher began by discussing the circumstances of his long-planned visit to the country. “In times of peace, it would focus on the positive elements of bilateral relations between the Holy See and Ukraine, especially since this year 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of our diplomatic ties. Having been established on February 8, 1992, our relationship has been positive throughout this period but has intensified, particularly over the past decade.said the British diplomat, pleased with diplomatic interactions with kyiv in recent years.
He recalled the various bilateral visits that punctuated these relations: that of President Volodymyr Zelensky on February 8, 2020 to the Vatican, that of Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal on March 25, 2021 to the Vatican, as well as that of Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See in Kyiv, August 23-25, 2021, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence.
Added to these visits are the exchanges of letters and telephone calls between the Holy Father and President Zelenskyy, which took “increased importance in the sad contextof the war in Donbass in recent years and the war in Ukraine since February.
“The Pope suffers enormously from the deaths”
Archbishop Gallagher renewed the closeness of the Holy See and Pope Francis to the Ukrainian people, especially in light of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. “I assure you that the Holy Father and his closest collaborators, including myself, suffer enormously from the many deaths, violence of all kinds, the devastation of cities and infrastructures, the separation of so many families, and the million displaced persons and refugees”he noted in this 86and war day.
The Holy See diplomat explained “the ‘limit’ of human attempts to find immediate ways to end this senseless conflictassuring that faith in God and humanity obliges however to persevere in the pursuit of peace through prayer, words and deeds and not to succumb easily to these enormous challenges.
His visit is part of the continuity of the special attention that the Holy Father pays to Ukraine, as evidenced by the sending of Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, Apostolic Chaplain, and Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for the integral human development.
“The passionate plea for peace”
Bishop Gallagher recounted his visit this Friday, May 20 to three martyred localities: Vorzel, Bucha and Irpen. He felt that his meeting with the governmental and municipal authorities of the Ukrainian nation, as well as the meeting with certain religious representatives and the people seriously affected by the conflict, allowed him “to touch the wounds of the Ukrainian people and to hear their passionate plea for peace”.
Through Bishop Gallagher, the Holy See thus reaffirms its willingness to support a genuine process of negotiation, which it considers to be the right path towards a just and permanent resolution.
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Archbishop Gallagher in Ukraine: the Holy See perseveres in the search for peace – Vatican News
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