The Vatican

Pope sets foot on Mongolian soil for the first time

On August 31, 2023, Pope Francis' trip to Mongolia began, marking the first visit of a Pope to this country. The Holy Father landed in Ulaanbaatar on September 1, 2023.

Loreto Rios-September 1, 2023-Reading time: < 1 minute

Pope Francis is welcomed in Mongolia with "aaruul", a traditional sweet made with boiled and dehydrated yogurt ©OSV

Before starting its 43rd Apostolic Journey International, the Pope greeted 12 young people of different nationalities who have been helping the Dicastery for the Service of Charity prepare food shipments to Ukraine. Francis then proceeded to Rome-Fiumicino International Airport, where at 6:41 p.m. he took off on an A330/ITA Airways for Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

During the flight, the Pope addressed a few words to the journalists accompanying him and thanked them for accompanying him on the trip and for their work. "A comment made by one of you inspired me to tell you this: to go to Mongolia is to go to a small town in a big land. Mongolia seems endless and its inhabitants are few, a small village of great culture. I think it will do us good to understand this silence, so long, so big. It will help us to understand what it means, but not intellectually: to understand it with the senses. Mongolia is understood with the senses. Let me say that it will do us good perhaps to listen a little to the music of Borodin, who knew how to express what this expanse and greatness of Mongolia means."

As usual, the Pope sent telegrams to the countries he was flying over, starting with a farewell telegram to the Italian president, and then to the presidents of Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and China.

On Friday, September 1, Francis landed at the international airport "Chinggis Khaan" in Ulaanbaatar at 9:51 am local time (3:51 am Rome time), where he was received by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Batmunkh Battsetseg, with whom he had a brief conversation in the VIP lounge of the airport.

The Pope then drove to the Apostolic Prefecture in Ulaanbaatar.

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