PHOTOS:Why Pope Francis kissed Salva Kiir, Riek Machar’s feet in Vatican

A video doing rounds on social media has got the attention of many. In the video, Pope Francis is seen kneeling down to kiss the feet of South Sudanese leaders President Salva Kiir, his former Deputy Riek Machar and some other leaders.

Pope Francis kisses feet of President Salva Kiir, Riek Machar - VIDEO

This has got many asking the reasons as to why the 82-year old religious leader could do such, but do you really know the real reason?

Well, the Pope did all this just to appeal for peace between the two leaders.

He appealed to President Salva Kiir, his former deputy turned rebel leader Riek Machar, and three other vice presidents to respect an armistice they signed and commit to forming a unity government next month.

Pope Francis with President Salva Kiir of South Sudan at the Vatican on Thursday.

“I am asking you as a brother to stay in peace. I am asking you with my heart, let us go forward. There will be many problems but they will not overcome us. Resolve your problems,” Francis said in improvised remarks.

The leaders appeared to be stunned as the 82-year-old pope, helped by aides, knelt with difficulty to kiss the shoes of the two main opposing leaders and several other people in the room.

The pope’s words were made even more pressing as anxiety grew in South Sudan over whether Thursday’s coup in neighbouring Sudan could scupper a fragile peace deal that ended South Sudan’s brutal five-year civil war.

The Vatican brought together South Sudanese leaders for 24 hours of prayer and preaching inside the pope’s residence in a last ditch attempt to heal bitter divisions a month before the war-ravaged nation is due to set up a unity government.

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