Vladimir Putin said today to Pope Francis that she wishes to work with him to “defend the interests of of Christians“Negotiations are underway to hold a meeting between the pope and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“I am convinced that by working together, we can achieve much to defend the rights and interests of Christians and to develop interfaith dialogue,” the Russian president said in a telegram to the pope on the occasion of his 85th birthday.
Putin extended “warm wishes” to Francis and also welcomed “his personal contribution to the development of relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church,” according to a statement posted on the Kremlin website.
This attack of friendship takes place in the midst of efforts to bring the two churches closer.
In early December, the pope said he was ready to travel to Moscow to meet with Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
A historic meeting between the pope and Patriarch Cyril took place in Cuba in February 2016, an important step in the Vatican’s rapprochement with the Russian Orthodox.
The patriarch, for his part, is an ardent supporter of the Kremlin. In 2012, he declared that Vladimir Putin’s rule was “a miracle of God” after the post-Soviet crisis of the 1990s.