Cardinal Zuppi to go to Moscow this week as Pope Francis’ peace envoy

Cardinal Matteo Maria Zuppi archbishop of Bologna Oct 10 2019 Credit Daniel Ibanez CNA Cardinal Matteo Maria Zuppi, archbishop of Bologna, during a consistory Oct. 5, 2019. | Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

The Vatican announced Tuesday that Cardinal Matteo Zuppi will visit Moscow this week as part of the peace mission entrusted to him by Pope Francis.

Zuppi will arrive in Russia’s capital on June 28, less than one week after a paramilitary organization known as the Wagner Group rebelled against the Russian government in a short-lived revolt.

The cardinal’s mission during the two-day visit is to help “find ways to achieve a just peace,” according to the Vatican statement issued one day before the trip.

“The main purpose of the initiative is to encourage gestures of humanity, which can contribute to foster a solution to the current tragic situation and find ways to achieve a just peace,” it said.

Pope Francis has asked the Italian cardinal to serve as a papal envoy to “initiate paths of peace” between Russia and Ukraine.

The Moscow trip follows Zuppi’s visit to Kyiv earlier this month where he met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other political leaders.

Zelenskyy, writing on the messaging internet service Telegram, said he and Zuppi discussed the situation in Ukraine and humanitarian cooperation.

“Only joint efforts, diplomatic isolation, and pressure on Russia can bring a just peace on Ukrainian soil,” the Ukrainian president said. “I ask the Holy See to help implement the Ukrainian peace plan. Ukraine welcomes the willingness of other states and partners to find ways to peace, but since the war is on our territory the solution for achieving peace can only be Ukrainian.”

An official from the Vatican Secretariat of State will travel with Zuppi to Moscow, which is still dealing with the fallout of the unprecedented Wagner rebellion that could potentially influence the next phase of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Zuppi, the archbishop of Bologna and president of the Italian bishops’ conference, has strong ties to the influential peace-building community Sant’Egidio.

Sant’Egidio is a Catholic lay association that has been involved in peace negotiations in many countries, including Mozambique, South Sudan, Congo, Burundi, and the Central African Republic.

Zuppi is not the only cardinal that Pope Francis has sent into a war zone in recent weeks. The pope asked Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, to bring humanitarian aid to Ukraine’s southern Kherson region earlier this month, in the Polish cardinal’s sixth trip to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.