3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.( 1 Thessalonians 5:3)
Birds of pray: Doves released in the Vatican as a gesture of peace are immediately ATTACKED by vicious seagull and crow
- Tens of thousands of people were watching in St Peter's Square
- Seagull and a large black crow swept down on the doves today
- They had been set free from open window of the Apostolic Palace
To millions of Christians, they are a symbol of peace.
But to a pair of larger birds, the two doves released in the Vatican yesterday were nothing more than a chance for a bit of Sunday morning sport.
No sooner had the birds been set free in St Peter’s Square – as a symbolic gesture of peace for Ukraine – than they were set upon by a seagull and a crow.
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Go: Pope Francis is joined by two children who release doves during the Angelus Prayer in St. Peter's Square
Off they fly: Francis was celebrating the prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square
Windowsill: A seagull attacks a dove released by a child from the papal window during Francis's prayer
Attack: Two white doves had been sent fluttering into the air as a peace gesture by Italian childrenThe two larger birds swooped on the defenceless doves during the Pope’s weekly Sunday Angelus prayer in front of tens of thousands of worshippers gathered in the Vatican.
After saying a prayer for Ukraine, where at least three people were killed during the latest clashes that have seen Kiev in flames, the Pontiff helped schoolchildren release the doves from the window of the Apostolic Palace as a peace gesture.
But they were immediately attacked. The seagull pinned one of the doves against the wall of the palace and pecked at its tail, but was left with a mouthful of feathers as its victim made an escape.
The crow caught the smaller bird unawares, as it rested on a windowsill, before pecking at it repeatedly. Again, the victim managed to get away.
Eventually both doves flew off, seemingly uninjured, to the relief of tens of thousands of onlookers.
The release of the birds concludes the Vatican’s annual Caravan of Peace event.
Last year one of the doves was set upon by a gull, while in 2012 they simply flew back into the Apostolic Apartments.
While speaking at the window beforehand, Francis had appealed for peace in Ukraine, after at least three people were killed during the latest clashes in the two-month crisis.
Not getting away: A dove which was freed by children flanked by Pope Francis is attacked by a seagull
Watch out: A dove which was freed by children flanked by Pope Francis is chased by a black crow
Watch out: After the pope and the two children left the windows, a seagull and a big black crow quickly swept down, attacking the doves, including one which had briefly perched on a windowsill
Crow fought the wings of a dove: While speaking at the window beforehand, Francis had appealed for peace in Ukraine, where anti-government protesters have diedPolice and demonstrators in Kiev fought again as protests against President Viktor Yanukovich's abrupt turn away from the European Union towards Russia, Ukraine's former Soviet overlord.
‘I am close to Ukraine in prayer, in particular to those who have lost their lives in recent days and to their families,’ Francis said in his weekly Angelus in St Peter's Square.
‘I hope that a constructive dialogue between the institutions and civil society can take place, that any resort to violence is avoided and that the spirit of peace and a search for the common good is in the hearts of all.’
The mass rallies against President Yanukovich's rule erupted last November after he pulled out of a free trade deal with the European Union in favour of closer economic ties with Russia.
They have since spiralled into protests against misrule and corruption among Ukraine's leaders and officials.
There have been violent clashes with police in Kiev city centre, resulting in the death of three protesters last week, two from gunshot wounds.