Vatican Secretary of State meets Russian counterpart

Vatican Secretary of State meets Russian counterpart”

However, he and Cardinal Parolin were able to voice a shared conviction that "politics should not interfere in Church life", and stressed the important role that Churches in Ukraine play in terms of peacemaking and in helping to "establish a civic accord in the country".

The Secretary of State's visit - following the historic meeting in Havana between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill on 12 February 2016 - signals a new step toward a "desired and sought-after communion".

The list of topics for the meetings ranged from ecumenical dialogue and interreligious cooperation to current world affairs and climate change, he said in a series of interviews before leaving Rome.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said on Tuesday that there was "positive momentum" behind the idea of Pope Francis visiting Russian Federation, but suggested there was more work to be done if it were to happen.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov evoked the need for solutions for Christians living in the Middle East. Many church buildings were confiscated by the former Soviet government and never returned.

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Cardinal Parolin underlined the Vatican's concern about religious freedom in the region; Lavrov spoke of the need for "proper balance between different ethnic and religious groups in Yemen, Libya, and Iraq".

In situations of war, he said, the Catholic Church often is directly involved in promoting humanitarian aid for the victims, but it also works on a diplomatic level to promote a negotiated peace with guarantees of "justice, legality, truth" and the safety of civilians.

Following his meeting with Lavrov this morning, Cardinal Parolin is set to visit with Patriarch Kirill later on in the evening, and the two will hold a brief press conference afterward.

Archbishop Migliore said Cardinal Parolin was invited by "top Russian authorities" and that he would meet President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov.

After his arrival, Parolin met with Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church's department for external relations, TASS reported. Before Mass, he had met with the country's Catholic bishops.

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