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 Pope’s Apostolic Nuncio (diplomatic representative) to Malaysia, Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino, at Istana Pasir Pelangi here yesterday.
Archbishop Marino, who is the highest ranking diplomatic official of the Holy See in Malaysia, spent nearly 90 minutes with Sultan Ibrahim.
He also presented a special silver medallion from the Pope to His Majesty, who reciprocated with a memento to Archbishop Marino.
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 at the meeting 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 granted an audience to Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu.
The meeting lasted about an hour and Mohamad was treated to a light breakfast by Sultan Ibrahim.
The Kota Raja MP presented a gift to Sultan Ibrahim, who is also the Special Forces Regiment Colonel Commandant.