Cardinal Parolin aims to set up Pope Francis visit to Russia

Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis (file photo)

Cardinal Parolin aims to set up Pope Francis visit to Russia and

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has said that he hopes to lay the foundation for a papal visit to Russia when he visits Moscow later this month.

"With God's help I hope to make some contribution in this direction," he said. He is scheduled to meet both President Putin and the head of the Russian Orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill.

Cardinal Parolin told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera that “a possible visit to Russia by the Holy Father” will be one of the key items on the agenda for his discussions with Russian officials. The cardinal is due to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill during his trip, which will take place August 20 to 24.

Pope John Paul II had long sought to arrange a visit to Russia, but his hopes were dashed by opposition from the Moscow patriarchate. Relations between Rome and Moscow have thawed under Pope Francis, and the two arranged an unprecedented personal meeting in Cuba in February 2016.

No previous Pope in the modern era has visited Russia. In a landmark encounter in February 2016, Francis met and embraced Kirill in Cuba.

It was the first meeting between a Pope and a leader of the Russian Orthodox Church since Christianity split into western and eastern wings in the 11th century.

Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his desire to visit Russia. The Russian president has twice been granted private audiences at the Vatican since Francis was elected in 2013.

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 09:21
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