Pope Francis meets with Saudi Arabian representative in the Vatican
Abdullah bin Fahad Allaidan, advisor to the Minister of Islamic Affairs of Saudi Arabia, and Pope Francis began their encounter with this long greeting. The Saudi Arabian representative expressed the admiration and esteem they have for him in the Saudi Arabian kingdom. The pope thanked him for his words.
“Thank you. I also welcome you and am happy to meet you. Very happy.”
They conversed in the Paul VI Audience Hall study through a translator because, as Pope Francis explained…
“I’ve forgotten all of my Arabic, so that’s why I need a translator.”
When they concluded, and were in good spirits, both men moved to a larger room where the Saudi Arabian advisor gave the pope some gifts.
He presented Pope Francis with a miniature replica of the most sacred place for Muslims, Mecca, which is located in Saudi Arabia. On the inscription on the box, the leaders thank the pope for his role as a promoter of peace and coexistence in the world.
The advisor also gave him some delicate perfumes from the country and a misbaha, the Muslim rosary with which they recall the 99 names of Allah.
Pope Francis gave the representative the three medals of his papacy.
“The three medals of the Pontificate: in bronze, silver and gold.”
The visit ended with this group photo. It was a meaningful meeting considering the Vatican still doesn’t hold diplomatic relations with the Saudi kingdom.