The Vatican

Cardinal Zuppi visits Kiev

Mateo Maria Zuppi visits Kiev on June 5 and 6 as Pope Francis' envoy to meet with the Ukrainian authorities and open avenues for dialogue.

Maria José Atienza-June 5, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes
Matteo Zuppi

A brief press release from the Sala Stampa announced a fleeting visit by Cardinal Matteo Maria Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna and President of the Italian Bishops' Conference on June 5 and 6, 2023 as Envoy of the Holy Father Francis. This visit is part of the mission that Pope Francis has entrusted to Zuppi, to de-escalate tensions between Ukraine and Russia and achieve a peace agreement.

The communiqué stresses that the "main objective of this initiative is to listen in depth to the Ukrainian authorities on possible ways to achieve a just peace and to support gestures of humanity that will contribute to easing tensions".

This move is in addition to the approaches to both factions that have been made by the Holy See. Not in vain, the President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenski, visited Pope Francis at the Vatican on May 13, although previously there were several telephone conversations between the two heads of state.

On the other hand, since the beginning of Russia's full-scale aggression in UkrainePope Francis has sought a direct shore with Russia. On February 25, 2022, in a totally unconventional way, he even went to the embassy of the Russian Federation to the Holy See.

The choice of Cardinal Zuppi as "the Pope's man" on this issue is not trivial. Zuppi is a member of the Sant'Egidio community and was among the negotiators of the peace agreement in Mozambique. Pope Francis seems to be hopeful that Cardinal Zuppi, "also thanks to the contacts on the ground of the charitable organizations of Sant'Egidio, can at least bring some concrete results", as he emphasizes Andrea Gagliarducci in an article published in Omnes.

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi

Cardinal Zuppi, of Roman origin, comes from the Sant'Egidio community: in 1973, as a student at the Virgilio classical high school, he met the founder Andrea Riccardi. From that moment on, he became involved in the various activities of the community, from the popular schools for marginalized children in the slums of Rome, to initiatives for the elderly alone and not self-sufficient, for immigrants and the homeless, the terminally ill and nomads, the disabled and drug addicts, prisoners and victims of conflicts.

A graduate in Literature and Philosophy from the University of La Sapienza, he graduated in Theology from the Pontifical Lateran University. For ten years he was parish priest of the Roman basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere and general ecclesiastical assistant to the community of Sant'Egidio: he was mediator in Mozambique in the process that led to peace after more than seventeen years of bloody civil war.

In 2012, after two years as parish priest in Torre Angela, Benedict XVI appointed him auxiliary bishop of Rome. Francis elected him archbishop of Bologna in October 2015 and four years later, on October 5, 2019, created him a cardinal.

La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.
Banner advertising
Banner advertising