Pope Francis appears to wipe away tears as he stands in front of a plaque honoring war dead in Argentina during a ceremony for the return of a Virgin Mary statue from Britons to Argentina, at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. The original statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, which was brought to Britain at the end of the Falklands War, will be returned to Argentina and its replica, made in Argentina, will be donated to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Aldershot, Britain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has appeared to wipe away tears during a ceremony in St. Peter's Square for the return of a Virgin Mary statue from Britons to Argentina.

Argentine troops had brought a statue of Our Lady of Lujan to the Falkland Islands, or Las Malvinas, when they invaded the British colony in 1982. After the two-month war, the statue ended up in a military cathedral in Britain, where it served as a focus for prayers for dead from both sides.

Following his public audience Wednesday, Francis wiped his eyes and kissed a stone plaque which honors war dead in his Argentine homeland.

The statue is going back to Argentina, while British Catholics will get a replica.

Britain defeated Argentina, which believed the Falklands were illegally taken from it in 1833.

Pope Francis meets bishops from Britain and Argentina as they hold statues of Our Lady of Lujan, the original held at right, and its replica, left, at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. The original statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, which was brought to Britain at the end of the Falklands War, will be returned to Argentina and its replica, made in Argentina, will be donated to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Aldershot, Britain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis poses for photographs with bishops from Britain and Argentina as they hold statues of Our Lady of Lujan, the original held at right, and its replica, left, at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. The original statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, which was brought to Britain at the end of the Falklands War, will be returned to Argentina and its replica, made in Argentina, will be donated to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Aldershot, Britain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis blesses two statues of Our Lady of Lujan, the original at left, and its replica as he meets with bishops from Britain and Argentina at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. The original statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, which was brought to Britain at the end of the Falklands War, will be returned to Argentina and its replica, made in Argentina, will be donated to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Aldershot, Britain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis poses for photographs with bishops from Britain and Argentina as they hold statues of Our Lady of Lujan, the original held at right, and its replica, left, at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. The original statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, which was brought to Britain at the end of the Falklands War, will be returned to Argentina and its replica, made in Argentina, will be donated to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Aldershot, Britain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis blesses a replica of a statue of Our Lady of Lujan, which was brought to Britain at the end of the Falklands War, as he meets with bishops from both Britain and Argentina at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. The original statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, partially seen behind the pontiff, will be returned to Argentina and its replica, made in Argentina, will be donated to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Aldershot, Britain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
British Bishop Paul Mason, left, holds the original of a statue Our Lady of Lujan, and Argentinian Bishop Santiago Olivera, holds a replica of the statue, as they pose for photographs at the end of Pope Francis' weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. The original statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, which was brought to Britain at the end of the Falklands War, will be returned to Argentina and its replica, made in Argentina, will be donated to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Aldershot, Britain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis meets bishops from Britain and Argentina as they hold statues of Our Lady of Lujan, the original held at right, and its replica, left, at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. The original statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, which was brought to Britain at the end of the Falklands War, will be returned to Argentina and its replica, made in Argentina, will be donated to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Aldershot, Britain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis poses for photographs with bishops from Britain and Argentina as they hold statues of Our Lady of Lujan, the original held at right, and its replica, left, at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. The original statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, which was brought to Britain at the end of the Falklands War, will be returned to Argentina and its replica, made in Argentina, will be donated to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Aldershot, Britain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis poses for photographs with bishops from Britain and Argentina as they hold statues of Our Lady of Lujan, the original held at right, and its replica, left, at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. The original statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, which was brought to Britain at the end of the Falklands War, will be returned to Argentina and its replica, made in Argentina, will be donated to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Aldershot, Britain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis blesses two statues of Our Lady of Lujan, the original at left, and its replica as he meets with bishops from Britain and Argentina at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. The original statue of the Virgin Mary, Patroness of Argentina, which was brought to Britain at the end of the Falklands War, will be returned to Argentina and its replica, made in Argentina, will be donated to the Catholic Military Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Aldershot, Britain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)