Finnish bishop meets Pope Francis, gifts gloves ‘to keep warm in a cold world’

Posted Jan 23, 2024

[World Council of Churches] In an annual audience during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Bishop Bo-Göran Åstrand of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland gifted a pair of gloves to Pope Francis, described as “a modest gift, to warm the Pope’s hands in an otherwise cold world.”

Speaking to Pope Francis, Åstrand stressed the dimension of journeying on an ecumenical pilgrimage – resonating both with Pope Francis’ visit to the World Council of Churches in Geneva in 2018 and the WCC’s ongoing Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation and Unity – observing that pilgrimage is a growing trend in the Nordic countries and the joint ecumenical pilgrim meeting in Trondheim in 2030.

The audience with the Pope on Jan. 19 was part of a larger delegation visit of Finnish church representatives to Rome, and Pope Francis thanked the Finnish delegation for their presence, saying that “this meeting with you is a living sign in the midst of the present Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.”

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