Pope makes personal appeal in remarkable Russia embassy trip

ROME (AP) – Pope Francis has made an in-person visit to the Russian Embassy to “express his concern about the war” in Ukraine, in an extraordinary, hands-on gesture.

Usually popes receive ambassadors and heads of state in the Vatican, and diplomatic protocol would have called for Francis, as the Vatican head of state, to summon the ambassador to him.

For Francis to leave the Vatican and travel a short distance to the Russian embassy to the Holy See outside the Vatican walls was a sign of his anger at Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and his willingness to appeal personally for an end to it.

Vatican officials said they knew of no such previous papal initiative.