The Pope invited Patriarch Kirill to a meeting in Moscow

Pope Francis expressed his desire to organize a meeting with the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus Kirill at one of Moscow’s airports. This information was provided by the chairman of the World Union of Old Believers Leonid Sevastyanov, citing a personal conversation with the pope, TASS reports.

According to Sevastyanov, the pope is proposing a meeting in the capital while his plane is refueling on its way to Mongolia or back. The first meeting of the heads of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches took place in 2016 in Cuba, at the airport in Havana. This event became historic as it was the first contact between the leaders of the two Churches after the Great Schism in 1054.

It should be noted that in June 2022, a meeting between Francis and Cyril in Jerusalem was planned, but it was postponed due to the Russian-Ukrainian war. Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his position on Russian aggression in Ukraine and has called for a cessation of hostilities. Cyril, on the other hand, expressed practical support for Russian actions. In March 2022, an online conversation of Church leaders took place on Zoom, in which Kirill presented arguments justifying the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which aroused Francis’ concern.

The proposal to meet at the Moscow airport allows us to avoid difficulties and confrontations related to the organization of the Pope’s official visits to Russia. This formula of the meeting will allow it to take place in a neutral transit zone and will not cause negative reactions from opponents of the Pope’s visit.

The date of the possible meeting was proposed for the period from August 31 to September 4, when the Pope will pay an apostolic visit to Mongolia.


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