MOSCOW – The Vatican secretary of state visited Russia on Tuesday for talks spanning inter-church relations to global crises.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and also met with Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill.
Lavrov said the talks focused on conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, as well as the Ukrainian crisis. Parolin urged Russia to use its close ties to Venezuela to help ease tensions there.
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On Wednesday, Parolin is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Kirill praised Russian Orthodox relations with the Vatican, noting that the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches have similar positions on a variety of international issues. Parolin voiced hope that his visit will help strengthen their ties, but warned that patience will be needed to achieve results.
Kirill met with Pope Francis in Cuba in February 2016, the first encounter between the leaders of the two churches since they split about a millennium ago.
Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of foreign relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, said after the talks that the possibility of a new meeting between the patriarch and the pope wasn’t on the agenda.