Pope Francis spoke by phone on Sunday afternoon with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the Vatican website said.
The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, confirmed the conversation, specifying that it occurred at the request of the Iranian president, without providing further details.
Iran’s Tasnim News Agency cited Raisi as telling Pope Francis that, “The bombing of the Gaza church and the destruction of this historical heritage of the Palestinian nation is one of the examples of apartheid practices not only against Palestinian Muslims but also against other divine religions, which is carried out with the support of American and several European countries.”
Tasnim reported that Raisi asked Pope Francis to remind “the Western countries that support Israel to speed up the cessation of these crimes, and play a role in correctly explaining the position of the oppressor and the oppressed.”
The Iranian presidency’s website reported that President Raisi expressed his appreciation for the Pope’s appeals for a ceasefire in Gaza.
“As the leader of the world’s Catholics I will do everything in my power to stop these attacks and prevent more women and children from becoming victims in Gaza,” Pope Francis said, according to Tasnim.