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Pope meets Russian Orthodox prelate; a prelude to visit by Putin?

Catholic World News - November 12, 2013

Pope Francis met on November 12 with Metropolitan Hilarion of Volkkolamsk, the top ecumenical official of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Vatican did not issue any formal statement about the Pope’s discussions with Metropolitan Hilarion. But their conversation was likely to focus on relations between Rome and Moscow, and perhaps on a visit to the Vatican by Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is schedule to take place on November 25.

Perhaps not coincidentally, on the same day that the Pope met with the Russian Orthodox prelate, Milan’s Cardinal Angelo Scola met in Moscow with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. Cardinal Scola had said that he would speak with the Russian primate about ecumenical work at the “grassroots” level, particularly in his Milan archdiocese.

Relations between the Holy See and the Moscow patriarchate have warmed significantly in recent years. President Putin, who has endorsed calls by Orthodox leaders for a campaign to counteract secularism, has said in the past that he hopes to encourage stronger ecumenical partnerships between Moscow and Rome.

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