Support The Moscow Times!

Pope Says Meeting With Russian Orthodox Patriarch Scrapped

Pope Francis. Christoph Wagener (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Pope Francis has announced that a meeting set for June with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, has been canceled so as not to sow "confusion."

The two men, who had a first, historic, meeting in Cuba in 2016, had been due for further talks in Jerusalem.

But Francis told Argentina's La Nacion newspaper the encounter was called off because "our diplomacy felt that a meeting at this time could lead to a lot of confusion" — an allusion to the Ukraine war.

The head of the Catholic Church insisted his ties with Kirill, who represents some 150 million faithful or half the world's Orthodox population, were "very good."

Their meeting in 2016 was the first between the leaders of the two biggest Christian denominations in nearly a thousand years.

Dialogue with the Orthodox Church, which separated from the Catholic Church in 1054, is a stated priority of Francis's pontificate.

But since Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the two men have been on opposing sides.

The Pope last week called for peace and denounced a "cruel and senseless war."

Kirill has defended Putin's "military operation" and the fight against Russia's "external and internal enemies."

The two men held video talks on Ukraine in March and urged negotiations for a "just peace."

Yet shortly after the start of the war, Kirill called Moscow's opponents in Ukraine "evil forces."

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more