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Pope emotional as statue taken to UK after Falklands War returns to Argentina

The statue ended up in a military cathedral in Britain, where it served as a focus for prayers for the dead from both sides.

Pope Francis appears to wipe away tears as he stands in front of a plaque honouring war dead in Argentina during a ceremony for the return of a Virgin Mary statue from Britons to Argentina, at the end of his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican (Andrew Medichini/AP)
Pope Francis appears to wipe away tears as he stands in front of a plaque honouring war dead in Argentina during a ceremony for the return of a Virgin Mary statue from Britons to Argentina, at the end of his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican (Andrew Medichini/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Pope Francis appeared to wipe away tears during a ceremony in St Peter’s Square marking the return to Argentina of a Virgin Mary statue which ended up in Britain after the Falklands War.

Argentine troops had brought a statue of Our Lady of Lujan to the Falkland Islands, or Las Malvinas, when they invaded the British colony in 1982.

After the two-month war, the statue ended up in a military cathedral in Britain, where it served as a focus for prayers for the dead from both sides.

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Pope Francis with bishops from Britain and Argentina as they hold statues of Our Lady of Lujan, the original on the right and its replica on the left, in St Peter’s Square (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Following his public audience, Francis wiped his eyes and kissed a stone plaque which honours the war dead in his Argentine homeland.

The statue is going back to Argentina, while British Catholics will get a replica at the Catholic Military Cathedral of St Michael and St George in Aldershot.

Britain defeated Argentina, which believed the Falklands were illegally taken from it in 1833.

PA

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