Pope Francs and President Putin to meet later in the month

The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on November 25.

Details are not yet in place, however the meeting comes at a time when the Catholic Church seeks to improve ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Relations between Russia and the Vatican have been fraught since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, with Moscow accusing the Roman Catholic Church of trying to poach believers from the Russian Orthodox Church, a charge the Vatican denies.

On the other hand, Putin has sought to establish himself as a defender of Christianity, both in Russia and in nations where the faith is under attack, notably in the Middle East.

Putin has also played an active role in negotiations to avoid escalation of the war in Syria.

Both subjects are likely to figure prominently in Putin’s conversation with the Pontiff.

Pope Francis wrote to Putin in September as head of the G20 group of global powers to ask him to press for a political solution to the conflict in Syria without outside intervention.

The coming to power of Patriarch Kirill in 2009, who headed the Russian Orthodox’ diplomatic arm for years has helped the relationship between the two states.


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