November 26 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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No thaw in religious ‘cold war’ at Pope’s meeting with Putin

When Pope Francis held his first meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin yesterday, the leaders avoided discussions on relations between Vatican and the Orthodox Church.

The meeting, which took place at the Vatican, was the first between Pope Francis and President Putin, who met the Holy Father’s two immediate predecessors, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Blessed Pope John Paul II.

Accusations that the Vatican has tried to poach believers from the Orthodox Church in Russia, a charge it denies, set the tone for the meeting. While President Putin brought a greeting to the Pope from Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, they did not talk about inter-church matters, as some observers had hoped they would, during their 35 minute meeting.

None the less, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said it was a ‘cordial’ and ‘constructive’ meeting.

 

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