Sylvester Stallone is known for playing the Italian-American Rocky Balboa in the Oscar-winning 1976 film, but today he was caught sparring with an opponent he probably never expected.
During his visit to the Apostolic Palace in 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.
Stallone lived up to his public appearance and was seen in a video fighting with the 86-year-old pontiff, beginning by saying: “Ready, we’re boxing.”
He then raised his fists like a prize fighter before the pope, wearing his traditional white attire and a skullcap, did his best impersonation.
Stallone, 77, wrote about the encounter on Instagram, accompanied by a picture of him holding five keychains with multiple keys: “Very rare and special moment.” I got to hold the KEYS that EVERY single door in the open the entire Vatican City! Including the Sistine Chapel.
Stallone is seen raising his fists like a prize-winning fighter before the Pope, wearing his traditional white attire and skullcap, does his best impersonation, surrounded by Stallone’s family members
Stallone shakes hands with Pope Francis at the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City
The action star was accompanied by his wife Jennifer Flavin and their three adult daughters Sophia, Sistine and Scarlet
“Of course they didn’t let me out of their sight with the KEYS… I can’t blame them!”
Regarding his daughter, he said: “I am so glad that we gave our beautiful daughter this beautiful name: “Sistine.”
Stallone’s Rocky Balboa character was the child of a Roman Catholic Italian-American family, reflecting his father’s heritage.
The action film legend was in Italy to promote his Paramount+ show Tulsa King, which is set to stream November 15th.
In the series, Stallone plays mafia member Dwight “The General” Manfredi, who tries to reconnect with his gangster family after his release from prison.
After being driven out by his former family, he 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.
Stallone and his family meet Pope Francis
The couple, who have been together for 26 years, “decided to meet at home where they could talk and sort out their differences.”
“They are both extremely happy,” his rep told Page Six.
Their reconciliation came a month after Flavin, 55, filed for divorce.
Pope Francis on Saturday praised Mongolia’s tradition of religious freedom dating back to the time of its founder Genghis Khan, as he opened the first-ever papal visit to the Asian nation with a word of encouragement to Mongolia’s small Catholic flock.
Francis met with President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh in a traditional Mongolian ger, or round yurt, set up in the State Palace and wrote in the guest book that he was visiting “a country young and old, modern and rich in tradition,” as pilgrims of peace.
Francis was in Mongolia to minister to one of the world’s youngest and smallest Catholic communities – around 1,450 Mongolians are Catholic – and to make a diplomatic foray into a region where the Holy See has long had troubled relations, with Russia to the north and China in the north south.