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Our Lady of FatimaSidney de Almeida/Shutterstock

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Vatican announced on Tuesday, following an appeal made by the Ukrainian Catholic bishops.

In an announcement released March 15, Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See Press Office announced:

On Friday 25 March, during the Celebration of Penance at which he will preside at 17.00 in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The same act, on the same day, will be carried out in Fatima by His Eminence Cardinal Krajewski, Apostolic Almoner, as envoy of the Holy Father.

March 25 is the feast of the Annunciation. No further details were provided about the consecration, but the message was repeated on the Pope’s official Twitter account. LifeSiteNews has contacted the Holy See Press Office for further information.

The news follows a heartfelt appeal made to the pontiff on March 2 by the Latin-Rite Catholic bishops in Ukraine, who asked Pope Francis to consecrate Russia and Ukraine “as requested by the Blessed Virgin in Fatima,” to bring an end to the current conflict.

Their statement, released on the morning of Ash Wednesday, referenced the current conflict in Ukraine, and called for the consecration to be done in the manner requested by Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. The letter reads:

Holy Father! In these hours of immeasurable pain and terrible ordeal for our people, we, the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Ukraine, are spokesmen for the unceasing and heartfelt prayer, supported by our priests and consecrated persons, which comes to us from all Christian people that Your Holiness will consecrate our Motherland and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Responding to this prayer, we humbly ask Your Holiness to publicly perform the act of consecration to the Sacred Immaculate Heart of Mary of Ukraine and Russia, as requested by the Blessed Virgin in Fatima.

May the Mother of God, Queen of Peace, accept our prayer: Regina pacis, ora pro nobis!

Cardinal Krajewski, who will perform the consecration in Fatima on behalf of the Pope, has recently visited Ukraine as the Papal envoy during the current crisis, and spoke with the Ukrainian Catholic bishops. While in Lviv, Krajewski highlighted the power of prayer and faith to “move mountains” and to prevent the current conflict.

In July 1917, Our Lady of Fatima gave the three visionaries this message, asking for the explicit consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart:

To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.

Our Lady of Fatima repeated the request in 1929, when she appeared to Sr. Lucia saying: “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, and to order that in union with him and at the same time, all the bishops of the world make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to convert it because of this day of prayer and worldwide reparation.”

Controversy has reigned over the issue of the consecration of Russia, with some Catholics contending that it has taken place. However, while Pope John Paul II made an “entrustment-consecration” of the world, including Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984, he deliberately avoided making the explicit mention of Russia as Our Lady had requested.

German Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes confirmed in 2017 that John Paul II “held back [from mentioning] Russia explicitly because the Vatican diplomats had urgently asked him not to mention this country because otherwise political conflicts might perhaps arise.”

The late Fr. Gabriele Amorth, former chief exorcist of Rome, had already noted how the consecration had not been performed as requested, saying “a specific consecration has not yet been made.”

It remains to be seen if Pope Francis will make the consecration of Russia in union with the bishops of the world, as outlined by Our Lady in 1929. In light of the Vatican’s announcement, Dr. Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society U.K. called for the bishops of the world to join the Holy Father in making the consecration, as Our Lady of Fatima had asked.

Matt Gaspers (managing editor of Catholic Family News) echoed this, noting that the consecration must be done in unison with the bishops of the world, and involve “worldwide reparation.”

Over recent years, a growing number of Catholics and high-ranking prelates have been asking Pope Francis to perform the consecration. In 2017, the 100th anniversary of the year in which Our Lady called for the consecration to be made, Cardinal Raymond Burke made a number of public addresses calling for the consecration.

“It is evident that the consecration (of Russia) was not carried out in the manner requested by Our Lady,” he added in October 2017. “Recognizing the necessity of a total conversion from atheistic materialism and communism to Christ, the call of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart in accord with Her explicit instruction remains urgent.”

The cardinal doubled down in 2020, linking the global crisis caused through response to COVID-19 to the consecration not having taken place. “The consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is more needed today than ever,” he said.

“When we witness how the evil of atheistic materialism, which has its roots in Russia, directs in a radical way the government of the People’s Republic of China, we recognize that the great evil of communism must be healed at its roots through the consecration of Russia, as Our Lady has directed,” Cardinal Burke continued.