German Chancellor Angela Merkel awarded “Lamp of Peace” in Assisi

In a ceremony at the Sacro Convento, Assisi, on Saturday, May 12th, 2018, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, was awarded the St. Francis Peace Lamp. Colombian President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Juan Manuel Santos, the recipient in 2016, was also present.

In her acceptance speech, Mrs. Merkel spoke about the central role of the European Union in working for peace and she thanked President Santos for his role in the Colombian peace process. She addressed the issue of Syrian refugees in Turkey and Lebanon, which poses a challenge for Europe and Germany, and she spoke of problems in Eastern Ukraine.

A discussion with refugees and migrants also took place in the Papal Hall of the Sacro Convento.A young refugee asked the Chancellor about the war in Yemen and the number of arms and weapons being sold to this region. Mrs. Merkel’s view was that no weapons should be sent to countries involved in the war in Yemen.

At lunch at the Sacro Convento, she spoke with President Santos, Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni,Cardinal Agostino Vallini, as well as with Romano Prodi, former President of the European Commission and former Italian Prime Minister. Later, Mrs. Merkel extended her program and made a visit to visit San Damiano accompanied by a Franciscan sister from Siessen, Germany. She was welcomed by Massimo Reschiglian, Guardian of San Damiano and she heard from Br. Juergen Neitzert, Definitor General, about St. Francis’ prayer before the crucifix. Chancellor Merkel also visited the Portiuncula and was warmly received by pilgrims there before having dinner in a local restaurant.