Pope Francis Reportedly to Visit South Caucasus

As part of his world visits Pope Francis, may visit Georgia for the first time this autumn.

Rome-based newspaper Vatican Insider has reported on the Pope’s intention to visit South Caucasus countries Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in September this year.

According to the Vatican Insider website, a visit to Georgia could also be on the cards if the trip goes ahead. The date initially considered for the visit was June but it was pushed back until the end of summer due to the pan-Orthodox Synod.

“It would have meant the Pope going to Georgia, an Orthodox country, while the local Church’s Patriarch was at the Synod assembly in Crete,” the website commented.

“Francis hopes to fly to the country soon and his journey could include stopovers in two former Soviet republics in the Caucasus, Georgia and Azerbaijan,” Vatican Insider continued.

In April 2015 Georgia’s President visited the Vatican and met with Pope Francis. They discussed the Role of Georgia as an ancient Christian state in the modern world and mentioned what was recently achieved by Georgia regarding their relations with the EU.

The President handed His Holiness a copy of the bas-relief of the Cross Ascension of Mtskheta Jvari Monastery and in return Pope Francis gifted the President with the St Martin Medal, noting that it is a symbolic and pleasant gift to give to the President, as a solicitous defender of his people.

Pope Francis has already visited Africa and the United States in 2015, now his 12th papal visit outside of Rome is scheduled in Mexico in February. Mexico is the second most populous Catholic country in the world after Brazil, where some 90% of its 125 million population is Catholic.

11 February 2016 13:36