Vatican City, 14 January 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a telegram from Sri Lanka to the president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, who today stepped down from the position he has held since May 2006. The eleventh president of the Italian Republic and the only one to have been re-elected twice, Napolitano visited the Vatican to greet Pope Francis on 8 June 2013, the first official state visit of his second mandate. The full text of the telegram is published below:
“Having learned of your resignation from the role of Head of State during my apostolic trip in Sri Lanka and the Philippines, I am spiritually close to you and wish to express to you my sentiments of sincere esteem and keen appreciation for your generous and exemplary service to the Italian nation, performed with authority, loyalty and tireless dedication to the common good. Your enlightened and wise action has contributed to strengthening within the population the ideals of solidarity, unity and harmony, especially in a European and national context marked by considerable difficulties. I invoke divine assistance for you, your wife and your loved ones, with the assurance of your constant remembrance in my prayers”.