The Russian youth are the ‘inheritors of the great Mother Russia’, said Pope Francis, participating in the 10th All-Russian Catholic Youth Assembly in Saint-Petersburg via videoconference on Friday, August 25.
“Do not forget your legacy. You are the inheritors of the Great Russia, the Russia of saints, rulers, the grand Russia of Peter the Great, Catherine the Second, of that empire – mighty, enlightened, [a country] of grand culture and greater humanity. Never reject this legacy,” said the head of the Catholic Church.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko criticised the Pope’s speech in a Facebook post on Monday, saying that rather than citing ‘imperialist propaganda’, Pope Francis should be ‘opening the eyes of Russian young people to the destructive course of the current Russian leadership’.
The 10th All-Russian Catholic Youth Assembly was held in Saint-Petersburg in August 23-27, with about 400 participants from 54 cities of Russia.