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Pope Francis cries when speaking of Ukraine ‘martyred by war’; watch video


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Pope Francis wept this Thursday (8) when speaking of the war in Eastern Europe and mentioning the suffering of Ukrainians, defining the country invaded by Russia as martyred.

The pontiff addressed the theme in prayer in the center of Rome, on the occasion of the traditional ceremony in honor of the Virgin Mary on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Francisco visited the Plaza de España and prayed in front of the monument to the Virgin.

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The pope’s voice started to shake when he mentioned the Ukrainians, then stopped for about 30 seconds. When he resumed praying, his voice cracked. “Immaculate Virgin, today I would like to bring you the gratitude of the Ukrainian people…”, he said, before interrupting the speech reading, moved.

The crowd accompanying the service – including the mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri, who was next to the pope – applauded when they realized that his body was almost trembling, he could not speak and he was crying.

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Francisco then resumed speaking, leaning on the arm of the chair and remaining standing. “… The gratitude of the Ukrainian people for the peace that we have asked the Lord for a long time. Instead, I must once again present the supplication of the children, the elderly, the fathers and mothers, the young people of that martyred land”, he continued , in a choked voice.

“Looking at you, who are without sin, we can continue to believe and hope that love will overcome hate, that truth will overcome falsehood, that forgiveness will overcome offense and that peace will prevail over war. So be it!”

In his public Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square, the pope had already evoked “the universal desire for peace, especially for the martyred Ukraine that suffers so much”.

Since Russia invaded the neighboring country almost ten months ago, Francis has mentioned Ukraine in several public appearances, with sometimes veiled, sometimes direct criticism of Moscow.

More recently, however, he has been embroiled in a conflict-related controversy, making a blatantly racist comment about the behavior of Vladimir Putin’s troops. In an interview with America’s leading Jesuit magazine, America, he said that non-Christian soldiers serving Russia are more ruthless in combat than adherents of the country’s majority Orthodox faith.

In June, he also went so far as to say that the West might be to blame for the war.

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