Pope Francis met this Monday in the Vatican for the first time with the Argentine president, Javier Milei, for an hour and gave him dulce de leche alfajores and lemon cookies. The private meeting began at 9:00 a.m. and concluded at 10:00 a.m. and was followed by the greeting of the delegation and the presentation of gifts, the Vatican reported.
Milei arrived at 8:58 at the Patio de San Damaso, which gives access to the apostolic palace, a few minutes late, since his arrival was scheduled at 8:45, because on the way to the meeting he stopped in front of the Argentine embassy to ask a photo with some compatriots. Afterwards, the Argentine delegation held a meeting with the Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin.
The president donated to the pontiff a copy of the handwritten letter from Chancellor José María Gutiérrez to Juan Bautista Alberdi, accrediting him as representative in Europe, dated May 1854, a painting with the image of the commemorative postcard of the first Argentine saint, Mama Antula , which was canonized this Sunday and which the Correo Argentino distributed on the occasion of her beatification.
As well as dulce de leche alfajores and lemon cookies from the pontiff’s preferred brand, as specified by Milei’s spokesperson, Manuel Adorni, in his account on X.
For his part, the Argentine pontiff gave Milei, as he usually does to all those who visit him, his message of Peace for this year, some of his writings and a bronze medallion with a cross and a dove, which is inspired by the baldachin of St. Peter’s Basilica made by Gian Lorenzo Bernini “and which symbolizes the harmony between the sacred and the divine, uniting heaven and earth.”
Upon his arrival, Milei was received by the head of the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, Leonardo Sapienza, and the ‘gentlemen’ who accompanied him on a tour through the impressive hallways decorated with frescoes until he reached the Second Lodge, where the library of the pontifical apartment, place where audiences are held.
The president is accompanied by his sister and general secretary of the Presidency, Karina Milei; his Foreign Minister, Diana Mondino; the head of the Interior, Guillermo Francos; that of Human Capital, Sandra Pettovello; the Secretary of Worship, Francisco Sánchez, and the ambassador to Israel, Rabbi Axel Wahnish, who will join at the end of the meeting for a greeting.
This Sunday Milei attended the canonization mass of María José de Paz y Figueroa, better known as Mama Antula, and there she was able to greet Pope Francis for the first time after the then presidential candidate considered the pontiff a “representative of evil in the land” and supporter of “bloody dictatorships.
During this meeting, Milei affectionately hugged the pope and asked to give him a kiss, while the Argentine pontiff, jokingly, exclaimed: “You cut your hair!”, amidst the laughter of both. “I messed it up,” the president responded, taking his hands and laughing, as heard in the videos of the meeting.