The "Rocky" actor and his brother Frank Stallone were named honorary citizens of the Italian town Gioia del Colle, where their family has roots
Sylvester Stallone just had the meeting of a lifetime.
As shown in a video from the encounter shared by Vatican News to X (previously known as Twitter), the actor was seen shaking hands with Francis, 86, who has served as the head of the Catholic Church since 2013.
Sylvester was also seen introducing the pope to his wife Jennifer Flavin and the couple's three children — Sophia, 27, Sistine, 25, and Scarlet, 21, who all introduced themselves in turn — as well as his brother Frank Stallone.
“Three, so many!” Francis could be heard saying, in reaction to meeting Sylvester's daughters.
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Pope Francis meets with American actor Sylvester Stallone and his family at a private audience in the Vatican. pic.twitter.com/f9tLUScwfj
— Vatican News (@VaticanNews) September 8, 2023
“Thank you very much for taking time from your busy day. We appreciate this very much," Sylvester then said, with both men adding they were "honored" to meet each other.
“We grew up with your films,” Francis told the actor via an interpreter, causing Sylvester to laugh and break into his classic Rocky boxing stance.
"Ready? We box!" joked the Expend4bles star.
The pope and Sylvester then mimicked shadowboxing each other, in reference to Sylvester's iconic boxing film franchise.
An official Vatican press release issued Friday noted that Francis was scheduled to meet with Sylvester, as well as a number of members of the clergy visiting Vatican City from around the world.
The Stallone family's visit to Vatican City on Friday does not appear to be Sylvester's first time at the Vatican.
In September 2022, the actor and filmmaker shared a photo of himself on Instagram holding two large sets of keys that he wrote in a caption "open EVERY single door in the entire Vatican City!"
"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," he continued at the time.
"So glad we named our beautiful daughter this beautiful name, 'Sistine,' " Sylvester added in that caption. "Of course they wouldn’t let me out of their sight with the KEYS … I don’t blame them!"
The Stallones' trip to Italy also involved a visit to the town Gioia del Colle, where Sylvester and Frank, 73, were named honorary citizens due to their family's roots in the area, according to the Catholic News Agency.
A video of the family's appearance at an event in the town shared to Instagram by artist John Rivoli showed Sylvester holding a large key that he said was to his grandfather's barber shop in Gioia del Colle.
“[Years ago] my grandfather left this city and this was the key to his barber shop. He was brave enough to make that journey and because of that, I am here today with my family," Sylvester could be heard saying, as attendees cheered and chanted, "Rocky!"
"Thank you. I just want to say, as Rocky would say, I love you and keep pushing," he added in the video.
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