Vatican Attempts to Justify Pope's Words about "Great Russia"
Tuesday, 29 August 2023
The Holy See has attempted to clarify the controversial statement made by Pope Francis about "Great Russia," which sparked outrage in Ukraine.
According to Vatican News, Matteo Bruni, the head of the Vatican press office, stated that Pope Francis urged "not to magnify imperialistic logic."
"The Pope intended to encourage young people to preserve and promote all that is positive in the great Russian cultural and spiritual heritage, and certainly not to exalt imperialist logic and government personalities, mentioned to indicate some historical periods of reference," Bruni stated.
On August 25, Francis addressed participants of the 10th All-Russian Day of Catholic Youth in St. Petersburg.
In his speech, the Pope said, "Never forget your inheritance. You are the heirs of the great Russia. The great Russia of the saints, of the kings, of the great Russia of Peter the Great, of Catherine II, that great imperial Russia, cultivated, with so much culture and humanity," Francis said, according to the video clip. "Never forget this inheritance. You are the heirs of the great Mother Russia, go forward. And thank you. Thank you for your way of being, for your way of being Russian."
Interestingly, the Vatican's news outlet, Vatican News, posted the Pope's address on its website, but the quoted passage is absent. However, a video of the Pope's address with this quote is available online.
In additiion, his Beatitude Sviatoslav, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), said that he expected Pope Francis to explainthe great-power ideas he had voiced at a meeting with Russian youth.
Earlier, in July, Pope Francis called on Russia to restore the Black Sea grain initiative, turning to "his brothers, the authorities of the Russian Federation."
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