The French President Francois Hollande will tomorrow meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, with the two men expected to discuss the fallout from the murder of the Catholic priest Fr Jacques Hamel last month.
Hollande's visit to Rome to meet the Pope will be his second after he was received there in January 2014. Officials have not disclosed what the pair will discuss but the killing of Hamel on 26 July is expected to be raised.
Sources in Hollande's office told AFP that the meeting was organised "following the events in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray", the Normandy town where the 85-year-old priest had his throat slit at the alter of his church by two teens claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group.
Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Petitjean burst into the church and held several nuns and fellow worshippers hostage before killing Hamel. Both were shot dead by police.
News of Hollande's visit to the Vatican came as the Archbishop of Rouen said that he is preparing to launch the Cause for the sainthood of Hamel, and waive the rule by which five years must pass before a Cause is opened, according to la-croix.com.
Archbishop Dominique Lebrun said that he is ready to initiate the canonisation process having "carefully preserved evidence about Father Jacques."
Hamel is considered by the Catholic Church to be a martyr, and there will therefore be no need for a miracle to be recorded to approve his canonisation.
Archbishop Lebrun said: "The death of Father Jacques Hamel is the ultimate testimony of his faith in Jesus, he affirmed to the end. The holiness of recognition procedure...can not begin until five years after the death of the person. Formally, it is the bishop of the person's place of death to initiate the procedure. There is a local phase with a careful survey of the life and death of the person. Then the case is sent to Rome where [it is] studied before the Pope's decision."