Pope, French President meet at Vatican

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Vatican City, June 26 (IANS) Pope Francis and French President Emmanuel Macron held their first official meeting at the Vatican on Tuesday during an audience lasting 57 minutes.

The Pope met Macron in the Tronetto Hall, where the former’s private audiences take place. The French leader arrived at the Vatican through the Avenue of la Conciliazione on a 30-car motorcade, Efe news reported.

Macron on his arrival to San Damaso’s square was greeted by the Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, who escorted the French President and his delegation to the private pontifical rooms.

Macron was accompanied by his wife Brigitte, dressed in black, hair in a bun and no veil, along with a 15 member delegation which included Interior Minister Gérard Collomb and the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, among others.

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An hour-long conversation ensued followed by the presentation of Macron’s entourage and the exchange of official gifts.

Macron handed Pope Francis an antique edition of the book “Diary of a Country Priest” by Georges Bernanos, while the Pontiff gave the French President a medallion representing St. Martín of Tours, the patron saint of Buenos Aires, whose legend says handed his mantle to the destitute.

Afterwards, Macron met Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Paul Richard Gallagher.

Prior to the Papal meeting, Macron attended a working breakfast with the leaders of the Catholic Community of Sant’Egidio.

–IANS

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