On Wednesday, May 18, the Vatican’s Foreign Minister, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, began his visit to Ukraine. Accompanied by Andriy Yurash, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Vatican and Archbishop Mechyslav Mokshytsky, Chairman of the Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops of Ukraine, the diplomat met with Archbishop Ihor Wozniak, UGCC, and visited a camp for migrants in one of the Roman Catholic parishes in Lviv.
According to Crux, “the visit would mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Ukraine and show the closeness of the Pope and the Holy See to Ukraine,” reaffirming the importance of dialogue to re-establish peace. ” The visit will last three days. During this time, Archbishop Gallagher will meet with representatives of the regional authorities of Lviv, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Father and Head of the UGCC, and with the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki.
On Friday, the diplomat is expected to arrive in Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and visit combat sites near Kyiv. From the beginning, this visit was planned before Easter, but it was postponed because Gallagher fell ill with COVID-19. The diplomat announced his trip last week during a wide-range interview on the Italian television program “Tg2 Post” which focused on the war in Ukraine, rearmament, and the international and ecumenical repercussions of the conflict.
Archbishop Gallagher is the third papal envoy dispatched to the region by Pope Francis, after Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, and Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, went to Ukraine and bordering countries to assess the humanitarian needs of Ukrainian refugees and bring them the Holy Father’s solidarity.