Vatican City (
AsiaNews) - Middle East, "the plight of Christians in some regions of the
world" and the life of Catholics in Russia were the topics of the "cordial
discussions" held in the Vatican between Russian President Vladimir Putin
Francis. Putin was later also received by Secretary of State , Msgr. Pietro
Parolin, who was accompanied by the Secretary for Relations with States, Msgr. Dominique Mamberti .
A statement issued by the Vatican later this evening reports that "satisfaction was expressed for the good existing bilateral relations, and the Parties focused on various questions of common interest, especially in relation to the life of the Catholic community in Russia, revealing the fundamental contribution of Christianity in society".
" In this context, mention was made of the critical situation faced by Christians in some regions of the world, as well as the defence of and promotion of values regarding the dignity of the person, and the protection of human life and the family".
special attention was paid to the pursuit of peace in the Middle East and the grave
situation in Syria, with reference to which President Putin expressed thanks
for the letter addressed
to him by the Holy Father on the occasion of the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg. Emphasis
was placed on the urgency of the need to bring an end to the violence and to
humanitarian assistence for the population, as well as to promote concrete
initiatives for a
peaceful solution to the conflict, favouring negotiation and involving the
various ethnic and religious
groups, recognising their essential role in society".
Vatican Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, confirmed that Putin brought the greetings of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to the Pope - with whom he had a private interview 35 minutes. But not an invitation for a visit to Russia , which , however , "no one expected".
In fact , on November 12 last, after an audience with Pope Francis , Metropolitan Hilarion , " Foreign Minister " of the Patriarchate , said that "at this time we are not even talking about a visit to Russia by the Pope, but the possibility a meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia in a neutral country . "
Today's visit was Putin's fourth to the Vatican , after two audiences with John Paul II in 2000 and 2003, and one with Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.