09 February 2023,   13:10
Pope Francis cries as he mentions the suffering of Ukrainians during public prayer

Pope Francis was moved to tears while mentioning the suffering of Ukrainians during a traditional public prayer in central Rome, writes Euronews.

The Pontiff found himself swept with emotion and unable to speak for 30 seconds upon calling for peace for the Ukrainian people, who have been fighting Russia’s aggression for over nine months.

“Immaculate Virgin, today I would have wanted to bring you the thanks of the Ukrainian people [for peace]”, - he said, as his voice trembled and he found himself having to stop.

The crowd, including city mayor Roberto Gualtieri who was standing to the Pope"s side, applauded when they realised he was unable to talk and saw him crying.

Francis eventually managed to continue, his voice cracking: “Instead, once again I have to bring you the pleas of children, of the elderly, of fathers and mothers, of the young people of that martyred land, which is suffering so much”.

The prayer was part of the pope’s annual ceremony to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a public holiday and 168-year-old tradition which kickstarts the country’s Christmas season.