Although he said planning a papal trip to Russia was not on the agenda, the Vatican secretary of state said his visit to Moscow was designed to build on the meeting Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill had in Cuba in 2016.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the secretary of state, was visiting Moscow from 21st to 24th August and was scheduled to meet with the patriarch and Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as with leaders of Russia’s Catholic community.
The list of topics for the meetings ranged from ecumenical dialogue and interreligious cooperation to current world affairs and climate change, he said in a series of interviews before leaving Rome.
After a long morning meeting on 22nd August, the cardinal and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a brief news conference, telling reporters they had discussed ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, the Holy Land and Venezuela.
Cardinal Parolin said his meetings with government officials were designed to share “Pope Francis’ interest in bilateral relations between the Holy See and the Russian Federation as well as his concerns in the sphere of international affairs.”
Picture: Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Pope Francis smile during a 2016 meeting at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, was visiting Moscow from 21st to 24th August and was scheduled to meet with the patriarch and Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as with leaders of Russia’s Catholic community. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).