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Pope Francis has had to cancel an upcoming visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan because of a knee injury, the Vatican has announced.
The head of the Catholic Church was scheduled to travel in July to the Congolese cities of Kinshasa and Goma, followed by a visit to South Sudan’s capital Juba.
In Juba he was to lead a prayer vigil with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland Rev Iain Greenshields.
The Vatican said the visit would take place at “a later date to be determined”. The decision had been made “at the request of [the Pope’s] doctors, and in order not to jeopardise the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee”.
The Sudan and South Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference has not yet issued any statement regarding the postponement.
Both DR Congo and South Sudan have large numbers of Roman Catholics.
The 85-year-old pontiff has made several visits to Africa since becoming pope in 2013.