The Pope's dove of peace; a ceremonial symbol used to mark the end of prayers, milestone events and to reflect the tranquility of the Christian faith.

All of these were thrown to the wind yesterday when a virtuous feathered friend was attacked by a sinister and (possibly) Satanic seagull.

Pope Bendict XVI was marking the end of Angelus prayers in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

pope dove seagull

Ruffled feathers

Two thousand Christian youths were packed into the square for the ceremony and quickly gained an insight into "survival of the fittest".

Fortunately, due to either divine intervention or just some nifty ariel acrobatics, the bird got away.

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  • In this photo provided by Vatican paper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI holds a dove he is about to set free, at the end of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

  • A white dove that was freed by Pope Benedict XVI at the end of the Angelus prayer is chased by a seagull, left, in St. Peter's square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. The dove eventually escaped and flew away. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI looks at a white dove that was freed at the end of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI leaves as a white dove that he freed at the end of the Angelus prayer sits on his studio's window in St. Peter's square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI looks at a white dove that was freed at the end of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI looks at a white dove that was freed at the end of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)