Italian police are investigating a disturbing death threat addressed to Pope Francis.
Law enforcement in Milan have confirmed an envelope containing three bullets was sent to the Vatican.
The suspicious package was intercepted by staff at a mail sorting facility before it reached the Pope and had been sent from France, according to police.
A handwritten address on the envelope read: ‘The Pope, Vatican City, St Peter’s Square, Rome’
According to Italian police, the three bullets are presumed to be for a pistol and the envelope also contained a message alluding to financial operations at the Vatican.
Representatives of the Holy See are yet to comment and an investigation is ongoing.
The development comes after a difficult period for the charismatic 84-year-old church leader.
In July, he spent 10 days in hospital after having half of his colon removed in a pre-planned surgery.
He has been taking time off from some official duties after undergoing his first major medical treatment since becoming Pope in 2013.
On July 27, a trial got under way in which 10 people, including a senior cardinal, have been indicted over allegations of mishandling of Vatican funds.
The multi-million euro scandal revolves around the purchasing of a luxury property in London.
According to Reuters, an indictment revealed as part of the process showed Pope Francis gave his personal approval for the trial against senior figures to commence.