At the end of today's general audience, the Pope, speaking in Ukrainian, addressed the pilgrims of that country who were in the Vatican.

"Beloved, I assure you and all the Ukrainian people that I am praying these days in a special way for your dear homeland," he said.

Yellow-and-blue flags were waved in response to the Holy Father's greeting, by some 60 Ukrainian pilgrims present in Paul VI Hall. They were joined by several dozen Ukrainian seminarians, priests and students in Rome.

The greeting was not included in the text of the papal address initially issued to the press. It was added later by the Pope.