2013-03-25 13:15:00

Pope Francis gives icon from Patriarch Kirill to former Pope Benedict XVI

Moscow, March 25, Interfax - Newly elected Pope Francis has decided to give the icon of Our Lady "Support of the Humble" to former Pope Benedict XVI.

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chief of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, has recently given the icon to Pope Francis as a gift from Patriarch Kirill.

"The icon is called Our Lady of Humility and I will take the liberty to say just one thing: I thought of you, being so humble as a pope," the press office of the Moscow Patriarchate's External Church Relations Department quoted Pope Francis as saying when giving Benedict XVI the icon.

"Thank you, what a gift!" Benedict XVI said.

The newly elected Pope Francis and his predecessor have just met in the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

Metropolitan Hilarion presented the icon to Pope Francis during a private meeting on March 20. "The first steps of Your Holiness after being elected were marked with humility," Metropolitan Hilarion said. "I have no humility and I'm asking you to pray that God gives it to me," Pope Francis said in response.