Pope Francis will not preside over New Years and New Year services as his sciatica flares up and causes pain in his right leg, the Vatican said Thursday.
It was the first time in years that Francis, who turned 84 this month, had to skip a papal event for health reasons.
A year-end Vespers, which the Pope should preside on Thursday afternoon, will be led by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, and Friday Mass will be given by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Vatican.
The Vatican said the Pope will lead his midday prayer on Friday as planned.
The Pope suffers from sciatica, a condition that causes pain that radiates from the lower back along the sciatic nerve to the lower part of the body.
He can sometimes be seen walking with difficulty because of the pain and receiving regular physical therapy because of the condition.
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