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Putin visits Pope Francis; Syria tops agenda

November 25, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on November 25. The quest for peace in Syria topped the agenda during their 35-minute conversation.

A brief Vatican statement released after the Monday-afternoon meeting said that the Pope and Putin had spoken “the good existing bilateral relations” between Moscow and the Holy See, the situation facing Catholics in Russia, and the defense of human rights, human life, and the family.

The Vatican indicated that “special attention was paid to the pursuit of peace in the Middle East and the grave situation in Syria.” The Pope and Putin agreed on the urgency of ending the conflict in Syria and supplying humanitarian aid for refugees and others who have suffered during the conflict.

Putin has sought to enhance his standing as a champion of the rights of Christians in the Middle East and a defender of faith in his own country. He made a public display of his respect for Christianity during his meeting with the Pontiff. During a formal exchange of gifts, Putin presented the Pope with icon of Our Lady of Vladimir; when the Pope kissed the icon, Putin did the same. The Russian leader was meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican for the first time. He had previously met twice with Pope John Paul II and once with Pope Benedict XVI.


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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: normnuke - Nov. 27, 2013 9:21 PM ET USA

    Hey, a couple of years ago Michelle revealed that Barack carries a holy card around in his wallet. That wasn't confirmed.

  • Posted by: Defender - Nov. 25, 2013 7:30 PM ET USA

    I'm waiting to see how long before the U.S. ambassador is asked to explain what the U.S. thinks it's doing supporting the Islamic extremists in Syria and adding to the slaughter of Syrian Christians.

  • Posted by: mario.f.leblanc5598 - Nov. 25, 2013 5:55 PM ET USA

    Meeting with the Pope is one fine thing, but refraining from being a dictator also has merit. Speaking of things that owe a lot of to Christianity, the concept of basic human rights is one of those, and Putin won't be bothered with that. His use of the labor camp against opponents is appalling. As an American, the previous commentator enjoys a constitutional guarantee that Obama will no longer be President in just over three years, and I trust many Russians would dream of such an advantage.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Nov. 25, 2013 4:47 PM ET USA

    While the current occupant of the White House is busy saluting the holidays and feasts of religions around the world unknown to any but post-doctoral students in religious sociology, Vladimir Putin is meeting with THE leader of Christianity, a religion to which both West and East owe just about everything. How fast and how far we (i.e. the US) have sunk! How fast and how high Russia has risen!