Photo/IllutrationPope Francis poses with peace advocates, flanked by atomic bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow, left in wheelchair, and Yusa Okada, right, grandchild of a hibakusha in Nagasaki. (Provided by Earth Caravan)

VATICAN CITY--Pope Francis blew out a flame born from the ashes of atomic-bombed Hiroshima in 1945 to symbolize hopes for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The pontiff extinguished the flame in one breath during a general audience here on March 20 with a contingent of peace advocates.

The fire, kept in a small lamp, was delivered to the pope by the group, which included Setsuko Thurlow, 87, a Canadian who survived the atomic bombing and jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 as a leading member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Thurlow asked the pope to permanently put out the flame of the “nuclear fire,” according to an official of Earth Caravan, a Kyoto-based nonprofit organization that organized the audience with Pope Francis.

Earth Caravan lit the fire from the “flame of peace” that has been kept in the Hoshinomura district of Yame, Fukuoka Prefecture, the hometown of the late Tatsuo Yamamoto.

Yamamoto searched for his uncle in Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was detonated on Aug. 6, 1945. He never found his uncle’s body but brought back embers from the ruins to Yame.

Yusa Okada, a first-year junior high student whose grandmother was a hibakusha in Nagasaki, handed “orizuru” paper cranes, a symbol of peace, to the pope.