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Pope Francis issued a congratulatory message to Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, commending her for 70 years serving on the throne.
The pontiff offered his encouragement via telegram to Buckingham Palace to mark the ongoing celebrations taking place in the United Kingdom.
“On this joyful occasion of your Majesty’s birthday, and as you celebrate this Platinum Jubilee year, I send cordial greetings and good wishes, together with the renewed assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will bestow upon you, the members of the Royal Family and all the people of the nation blessings of unity, prosperity and peace,” wrote the Bishop of Rome.
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The queen has met with multiple pope over the course of her 70-year reign. She last met face-to-face with Pope Francis in 2014 during a visit to Rome.
As a token of appreciation for the queen’s efforts to combat climate change, Pope Francis also included the donation of a Cedar of Lebanon to Queen Elizabeth’s Green Canopy project, according to a news release from the Vatican. The initiative asks people around the world to plant a tree in celebration of the ongoing jubilee.
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While the telegram may seem like a frivolous formality, letters and communiqués to world leaders are one of the pope’s most versatile tools in international relationships.
Pope Francis has maintained cordial and often friendly relationships with other monarchs and religious patriarchs throughout his papacy.
However, despite his public perception as jovial and polite, the pope has made enemies with his sharp tongue when pushed.
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The Russian Orthodox Church hit back at the Vatican last month after Pope Francis told an Italian newspaper that Patriarch Kirill should not “transform himself into Putin’s altar boy” amid the invasion of Ukraine.
“Pope Francis chose the wrong tone,” the Russian Orthodox Church said in a statement on Wednesday. “Such statements are unlikely to contribute to the establishment of a constructive dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches, which is especially needed at the present time.”
The pope recalled during an interview with the Italian Corriere della Sera newspaper that half of a 40-minute conversation he had with Patriarch Kirill in March consisted of the Russian Orthodox Church leader reading off “all the justifications for the war.”