UK church leaders to join Pope on ‘historic’ visit to South Sudan
The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will accompany the pontiff next February.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Archbishop of Canterbury are to join Pope Francis on a “historic” pilgrimage of peace to South Sudan.
They have been invited by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and will meet with him and his five vice-presidents in Juba, the country’s capital.
The visit had been due to take place in July but was postponed due to the Pope’s ill health, and will now take place from February 3-5 next year.
During the trip the three spiritual leaders will also meet local church representatives, civil war victims living in a camp for displaced people and will lead a large open-air prayer vigil for peace.
The visit, described as an Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace, aims to renew a commitment to peace and reconciliation and stand in solidarity with millions of ordinary people who are suffering amid continued armed conflict, violence, floods and famine.
Pope Francis said: “I think of South Sudan and the plea for peace arising from its people who, weary of violence and poverty, await concrete results from the process of national reconciliation.
“I would like to contribute to that process, not alone, but by making an ecumenical pilgrimage together with two dear brothers, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.”
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011.
Together we share a deep desire to stand in solidarity with the people of South Sudan
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
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