JOHOR BARU: The Sultan of Johor has received an invitation from Pope Francis to make a state visit to Vatican City in Rome.
The invitation was conveyed when Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar granted an audience to the the Pope’s Apostolic Nuncio (diplomatic representative) to Malaysia,
Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino, at Istana Pasir Pelangi here on Wednesday (Aug 15).
Archbishop Marino, who is the highest ranking diplomatic official of the Holy See in Malaysia, spent nearly 90 minutes with Sultan Ibrahim.
During the audience, the American-born archbishop conveyed an invitation on behalf of the Pope for Sultan Ibrahim to make a state visit to Vatican City in Rome.
He also presented a special silver medallion from the Pope to His Majesty, who also reciprocated with a memento to the Nuncio.
Also accompanying him on the visit were Reverend Father Vjekoslav Holik from the Vatican Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and local liaison officer Vincent D’ Silva.
Also present was deputy Johor Mufti Datuk Yahya Ahmad.
Archbishop Marino arrived in Malaysia in 2013 following his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI.
He is the first resident Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia, which established diplomatic relations with the Holy See in July 2011.
Earlier, Sultan Ibrahim also granted an audience to Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu at Istana Pasir Pelangi.
The meeting, which lasted about an hour, started at around 10am and Mohamad was treated to a light breakfast by Sultan Ibrahim.
The Kota Raja MP also presented a gift to Sultan Ibrahim, who is also the Special Forces Regiment Colonel Commandant, as a memoir.