Social media is currently buzzing with photos of renowned religious leader, Pope Francis, who was captured in a dramatic gesture as he went on his knees to kiss some South Sudan warring leaders in a bid to urge them not to return to civil war.
In a report by Reuters, it was gathered that the event played out Thursday, 11 April during the pope’s short retreat at the Vatican.
The respected cleric appealed to President Salva Kiir, his former deputy-turned-rebel-leader, Riek Machar, and three other vice-presidents to respect a peace agreement they had signed and commit to forming a harmonious government come May. He said:
“I am asking you as a brother to stay in peace. I am asking you with my heart, let us go forward. There will be many problems but they will not overcome us. Resolve your problems."
The 82-year-old pope’s gesture of going on his knees and kissing the feet of the leaders had left many present in the room surprised. Despite suffering from chronic leg pain, he had sought the support of his aides to carry out his gesture.
Watch the video below:
The report further noted that the pope’s appeal was made even more pressing as anxiety grows in South Sudan following a coup that has taken place, which many fear will put at risk the fragile peace deal that ended South Sudan’s brutal five-year civil war.
Addressing the South Sudanese leaders in his residence, the pope said:
“There will be struggles, disagreements among you but keep them within you, inside the office, so to speak, but in front of the people, hold hands united. So, as simple citizens, you will become fathers of the nation.”
The religious leader’s action had gathered a lot of mixed reactions from members of the online community as many praised his humility.
See tweets below:
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