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Pope to miss events due to new flare up of leg pain -Vatican

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis delivers his weekly general audience from the library in the Apostolic Palace, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Vatican, January 13, 2021. Vatican Media/?Handout via REUTERS

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis has suffered a renewed flare-up of a sciatica condition that causes pain in his leg, forcing him to miss three events in the coming 48 hours, the Vatican said on Saturday.

The pope is still scheduled to read his weekly noon Angelus address on Sunday, however he will miss two religious ceremonies scheduled for Jan. 24 and 25, and postpone an annual address to the diplomatic corps that was set for Monday.

The ailment resurfaced last December and meant Francis could not take part in religious services over the New Year’s holiday. He did not appear in undue discomfort in subsequent appearances.

The pope, 84, has long suffered from sciatica, a condition that causes pain to radiate from the lower back along the sciatic nerve to the lower part of the body.

He is sometimes seen walking with difficulty because of the problem and receives regular physical therapy.

Francis had been scheduled to lead a Mass on Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica and a vespers service on Monday at a church in Rome. Both ceremonies require the main celebrant to stand for most of the service.

The pope’s health has been generally good since his election in 2013 and the New Year’s events were the first major ceremonies that he had to miss because of an ailment.

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Christina Fincher