Pope Francis on Monday welcomed Indonesia’s new Ambassador to the Holy See, Antonius Agus Sriyono. The Ambassador presented his credentials to the Pope at a formal ceremony in the Vatican, at the start of his mission with the Holy See. A graduate in international relations from Gadjah Mada University, Sriyono later did courses in diplomacy before starting a career in the diplomatic service. He has held several posts in Indonesia’s foreign ministry as well as in diplomatic missions abroad, such as in the Netherlands, the United Nations and Russia before serving as ambassador to New Zealand, 2010-2013.
Muslims form over 87% of Indonesia’s over 255 million population, making it the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world. Catholics make up just 2.8% of the population. The Holy See recognized the Republic of Indonesia in 1947 and established an Apostolic Delegation in the country. This was promoted to Apostolic Internunciature in 1950, and in 1965 it became a fully-fledged Apostolic Nunciature, or Vatican Embassy. Two Popes have visited the South-East Asian nation, with Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1970 and St. John Paul II in 1989.