Pope Francis recently hinted at a secret Vatican mission to help bring peace to Ukraine while speaking to reporters during his return from a visit to Hungary. Although he did not provide specific details, he assured that the mission would be made public when appropriate. The Pope expressed his commitment to doing whatever he can to support peace efforts.
While in Hungary, Pope Francis met with Metropolitan Hilarion, formerly the Russian Orthodox Church’s chief foreign-affairs official, who was dismissed from his post after condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Despite this, Pope Francis revealed that his primary connection with Russia is through Aleksandr Avdeyev, the Russian ambassador to the Holy See.
Additionally, the Pope discussed efforts to bring back Ukrainian children taken to Russia, supporting the Ukrainian government’s plea for their return. He noted that the Holy See has previously mediated prisoner exchanges and emphasized the importance of doing everything humanly possible to help.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, later confirmed the existence of a Vatican peace mission to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. He expressed surprise that Russian and Ukrainian officials seemed unaware of the initiative when questioned about Pope Francis’ remarks. Parolin clarified that both capitals had been informed of the Vatican’s intentions.
Pope Francis met with several key figures during his visit to Hungary, including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has ties to Moscow, and the former foreign envoy of the Russian Orthodox Church, which supports the war. The Vatican is known for its diplomatic neutrality and behind-the-scenes conflict resolution efforts, and Pope Francis has been cautious not to provoke Moscow while expressing solidarity with the Ukrainian people.