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Pope Francis urges Russian children to become “peace artists”.

Pope Francis urged Russian youth to “sow seeds of reconciliation” in the face of the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

On Friday, the Pope remotely addressed hundreds of children in St. Petersburg at the 10th National Meeting of Catholic Youth of Russia.

“I wish you, young Russians, a calling to be peacemakers in the midst of so much conflict and polarization that is coming from all sides and is plaguing our world. I invite you to sow seeds of reconciliation, small seeds that are springing up in this world.” “The winter of war will not sprout in the frozen ground for now, but will bloom in a future spring,” Pope Francis told Russian youth.

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Pope waves

Pope Francis waves to the crowd during a mass marking the 37th World Youth Day at Parque Tejo in Lisbon. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

“Have the courage to replace fears with dreams,” the pope continued. “Don’t be administrators of fears, but entrepreneurs of dreams! Allow yourself the luxury of dreaming big!”

The event, attended by hundreds of Catholic children from across Russia, began on August 23 and will be held at St. Catherine’s Basilica.

This year’s theme is based on the passage in Luke’s Gospel where Mary – pregnant with Jesus – meets her older cousin Elizabeth, who is miraculously pregnant with John the Baptist at the same time.

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A destroyed building

Rescuers work at the scene of a building damaged after Russian missile attacks in Pokrovsk, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, in this photo provided by the Ukrainian Emergency Medical Service. (Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP Photo)

Addressing the issue as evidence of mutual edification between young and old, the pope said, “Elders dream of democracy and unity of nations, while young people prophesy and are called to be craftsmen for the environment and peace.”

He added: “With the wisdom of the years, Elizabeth, who was old, strengthened Mary, who was young and full of grace, led by the Holy Spirit.”

The Catholic Church in Russia and abroad firmly opposes the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, calls for immediate peace and is providing humanitarian aid to war-torn areas.

Exchange of gifts between Pope Francis and Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Pope Francis exchanges gifts with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during an audience at the studio in Paul VI Hall in Vatican City. ((Photo by Vatican Vatican Pool/Getty Images))

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Pope Francis has offered himself as the negotiator and facilitator for peace between Russia and Ukraine since the invasion began last year.

The Pope met with Zelenskyy in Vatican City, worked with the Ukrainian government to care for displaced Ukrainian children, and hosted Russian Orthodox church leaders for discussion.

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