Official of Russian Orthodox Church says a meeting is planned for Francis and Kirill, but not in Russia.
Pope Francis will have a second meeting with Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russias, according to Metropolitan Hilarion, but the meeting won’t be in Russia.
The Pontiff and the Russiann Orthodox Patriarch had a historic meeting in Cuba in 2016. Metropolitan Hilarion did not say when or where another meeting would take place.
In an interview with Corriere della Sera on October 7, Hilarion said that “the conditions are not met” for a papal trip to Russia.
The representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Rome said that both Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope’s secretary of state, and the leaders in Moscow say a trip by the Pope to Russia is not “on the order of day of [their] bilateral relations.”
However, “this does not mean that relations should not be developed, on the contrary,” he added, pointing to the meeting in Havana.
The February 12, 2016, meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill on the Caribbean island was a first in the history of the Russian Catholic and Orthodox Churches since the schism between East and West.
Considering that meeting had borne “good fruit,” Hilarion said a new meeting would be announced soon, but only “a week before,” when preparations were completed.
Among the fruits of the first meeting, the Patriarch cited the common defense of persecuted Christians in the Middle East, but also the Holy See’s position on what is referred to as “uniatism” – the attachment of Orthodox to the Catholic Church – which was, according to him, an “obstacle to dialogue.”
New topics of convergence could be discussed, with Patriarch Hilarion citing the defense of the environment. “We can address political leaders, heads of state, asking that their decisions take into account the impending climate catastrophe,” he said.