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Pope meets with Russian Orthodox Church official at Vatican

Vatican conversation coincides with Scola-Kirill chat in Moscow

12 November, 15:31
Pope meets with Russian Orthodox Church official at Vatican (ANSA) - Vatican City, November 12 - Pope Francis met on Tuesday with Metropolitan Hilarion, head of external church relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, at the Vatican.

The senior Orthodox Church official, whose post is similar to that of a foreign minister, is visiting Rome for a series of meetings including a conference Wednesday organized by the Vatican Congregation for the Family.

He was also expected to attend a "Concert for Peace" on Tuesday evening in honor of Pope Francis and featuring a Russian opera performer Svetlana Kasyan.

Tuesday's meeting coincides with a similar session in Moscow between the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.

It also comes only a few weeks before the pope is scheduled to receive Russian President Vladimir Putin on November 25.

Relations between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches, which have seesawed in recent years, are expected to be on the agenda.

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