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Metropolitan Hilarion on details of the talk …

Metropolitan Hilarion on details of the talk between His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis of Rome

DECR Communication Service, 09.05.2022.

On March 16, 2022, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia had an online talk with Pope Francis of Rome, which was focused on the situation in Ukraine.

Speaking on the air of the TV program “The Church and the World”, the Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, at a request of the program anchor Ms. E. Gracheva, commented on the Pope Francis of Rome’s statement in an interview to the Corriere della Sera newspaper. In particular, the head of the Roman Catholic Church said that during the March online negotiations, Patriarch Kirill “for the first 20 minutes read to me, with a card in hand, all the justifications” of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. 

“After the Pope presented the discourse in this light, we have decided to publish its details”, the DECR chairman said, “The Patriarch told the Pope approximately the following: “You receive from the western mass media the specific information about what is happening in Ukraine. I will tell you something that you may not know”.

According to Metropolitan Hilarion, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church related to Pope Francis of Rome the prehistory of the conflict in Ukraine and the events in Donbass in 2014.

“The Patriarch dwelt especially on the events in Odessa, which led to the widespread dissatisfaction of the Russian-speaking population and provoked, in their turn, the events in Donbass”, His Eminence continued, “Then the Patriarch spoke about the NATO expansion to the east; that NATO has come closer to Sankt-Petersburg at the distance of a few minutes of flight, and if Ukraine had joined NATO, then it would have come as close also to Moscow as at the distance of a few minutes of flight <…> Finally, His Holiness the Patriarch said the most important thing: that his flock lives on the both sides of the conflict, and his heart is aching for what is happening”.

Metropolitan Hilarion noted that after the video meeting, the press service of the Holy See quite correctly presented the information about the talk between the Primates of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

“As a witness and participant in that conversation, I do remember that that the atmosphere was very friendly, that there was no kind of disagreement between the Pope and the Patriarch and no kind of discontent on this or that side. It was a brotherly talk. It is possible though that the sides kept their views”, the hierarch concluded.


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