Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox church and a known ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was asked by Pope Francis to use the language of Christ and not the language of politics and to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine.
The Vatican confirmed on Wednesday that Pope Francis and Orthodox Patriarch Kirill held a virtual meeting to discuss the war in Ukraine.
A Vatican statement said the meeting focused
“on the war in Ukraine and the role of Christians and their pastors in doing everything to ensure that peace prevails.”
Francis pointed out that, as shepherds of the people, they must not use the language of politics, but the language of Jesus.
“We are shepherds of the same Holy People who believe in God, in the Holy Trinity, in the Holy Mother of God: that is why we must unite in the effort to aid peace, to help those who suffer, to seek ways of peace, and to stop the fire,” he added.
Matteo Bruni, Director of the Holy See Press Office, who was also present at the meeting said that both leaders agreed that
“the Churches are called to contribute to strengthening peace and justice."
Negotiations to a 'just' peace
A statement from Patriarch Kirill's office confirmed the meeting and the details of the discussions saying that there were negotiations to achieve a “just peace”.
“Particular attention was paid to the humanitarian aspects of the current crisis and the actions of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church to overcome its consequences,” it reads.
Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill first met in Cuba in 2016 which was seen by the Catholic community to be a major step toward the 1,000-year split between Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.
Kirill, who is a known close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, made earlier statements defending Moscow’s attack on Ukraine
Despite this, Catholic bishops across Europe have urged Krill to intervene including Poland’s Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, Germany’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx, and Irish bishops.
The Vatican also brought up Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill’s 2016 statement on the hostility in Eastern Ukraine where Russia-backed fighters and the Ukrainian government were in armed conflict.
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