A ring and a prayer! Sylvester Stallone shadow boxes with the Pope as the Rocky star takes his family to meet the pontiff at the Vatican
- Stallone was accompanied by his wife, their three daughters and his brother
Sylvester Stallone is known for playing Italian-American Rocky Balboa in the Oscar-winning film from 1976, but today he was caught sparring with one opponent he probably never expected to face.
For his meeting with the Pope at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City, the action star was accompanied by his wife, Jennifer Flavin, and their three adult daughters Sophia, Sistine and Scarlet, as well as his brother, Frank.
Playing up to his public persona, Stallone was seen sparring with the 86-year-old pontiff, starting it off by saying: ‘Ready, we box.’
He then raised his fists like a prized fighter before the pope, wearing his traditional white clothes and a skullcap, did his best imitation.
Posting about the encounter on Instagram, accompanied by an image of him holding five key rings with several keys on each, Stallone, 77, wrote: ‘Very rare and special moment. I was allowed to hold the KEYS that open EVERY single door in the entire Vatican City! Including the Sistine Chapel.
‘Of course they wouldn’t let me out of their sight with the KEYS … I don’t blame them!’
Referring to his daughter, he said, ‘so glad we named our beautiful daughter this beautiful name, “Sistine.”‘
Stallone’s Rocky Balboa character was the only child in a Roman Catholic Italian-American family, reflecting the heritage of the actor’s father.
The action movie legend was in Italy promoting his Paramount + show, ‘Tulsa King,’ set to be streamed from November 15.
In the series, Stallone plays mafia member Dwight ‘The General’ Manfredi who tries to reconnect with his gangster family after his prison release.
Exiled from his former family, he then moves from New York to Tulsa, Oklahoma where he starts a criminal empire.
In September last year, Stallone and his estranged wife called off their divorce and reconciled.
The couple, who have been together for 26 years, ‘decided to meet up at home, where they talked and were able to work out their differences’.
‘They are both extremely happy,’ his rep told Page Six at the time.
Their reconciliation came one month after Flavin, 55, filed for divorce.
Pope Francis on Saturday praised Mongolia’s tradition of religious freedom dating to the times of its founder, Genghis Khan, as he opened the first-ever papal visit to the Asian nation with a word of encouragement to its tiny Catholic flock.
Francis met with President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh inside a traditional Mongolian ger, or round yurt, set up inside the state palace and wrote a message in the guest book that he was visiting ‘a country young and ancient, modern and rich of tradition,’ as a pilgrim of peace.
Francis was in Mongolia to minister to one of the world’s newest and smallest Catholic communities – around 1,450 Mongolians are Catholic – and make a diplomatic foray into a region where the Holy See has long had troubled relations, with Russia to the north and China to the south.