Pope Francis suffers fall in front of thousands at open-air mass


Pope Francis tripped and fell in front of tens of thousands of people as he was about to take an open-air mass in the Polish town of Czestochowa on Thursday.

The 79-year-old pontiff was immediately helped to his feet after he appeared to trip over a step as he walked towards the altar. Thankfully he was not hurt.

The Pope was able to continue, and delivered his sermon at the Jasna Gora, known as the Black Madonna - the holiest shrine to the Virgin Mary in the country.

Francis was visiting Eastern Europe for the first time and during the mass he praised the country's devotion as he urged Poles to hold fast to their faith.

Pope Francis prays in front of the Black Madonna in the Jasna Gora' shrine in Czestochowa
Pope Francis prays in front of the Black Madonna (Gregorio Borgia/AP/PA)

The Mass was held in celebration of the 1,050th anniversary this year of Poland's acceptance of Roman Catholicism.

Francis urged today's Poles to stay united, as their nation is divided over such issues as how to view refugees and migrants, especially those who are not Christians.