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Vatican gives update on Pope’s health after Colon surgery

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Pope Francis was doing well on Monday after surgery for an inflamed large colon, but the 84-year-old was expected to spend around seven days recovering in hospital, the Vatican said.

The pontiff was admitted to Rome’s Gemelli hospital on Sunday for a scheduled operation under general anaesthetic for symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon.

Francis “is in good general condition, alert and breathing spontaneously”, spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement, adding that the surgery “lasted about three hours.

“A stay of about seven days is expected, barring complications,” he said.

A week earlier, on the eve of the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Francis seemed to hint at the upcoming operation, saying: “I ask you to pray for the pope, pray in a special way. The pope needs your prayers.”

The pontiff had already put his Wednesday general audience on hold for the summer, and has no other official appointments in his calendar until Sunday, when he is due to lead the Angelus prayer.

Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi sent Francis “affectionate get well soon wishes”, while former pope Benedict XVI is also praying for him, according to the latter’s private secretary Georg Ganswein.

The spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, and Sheikh Ahmed el Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, one of the Muslim world’s leading authorities, both urged the pontiff a quick recovery.

Francis is in the same suite on the 10th floor of the Gemelli hospital that was used by Pope John Paul II.

The late pope underwent surgery there seven times, including after an attempt on his life in 1981, and for a tumour in the colon in 1992.

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