‘Foreign Minister’s’ Moscow visit to bolster Vatican-Russia relations

Vatican-Russia relations

The Vatican’s equivalent of “foreign minister” has made a two-day visit to Moscow, a sign of the Holy See’s ongoing efforts to improve Vatican-Russia relations.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, arrived on Monday in the Russian capital, where he held meetings with Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The 67-year-old Vatican prelate also met with Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Moscow Orthodox Patriarchate’s foreign relations department.

Following the diplomatic meetings, Gallagher celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Moscow.

Lavrov noted “the many convergences of views and interests” between Moscow and Rome, especially regarding “various conflicts around the globe”.

“Russia appreciates the Holy See’s efforts to uphold the rule of international law and the UN Charter, which are peaceful and diplomatic means of resolving conflicts,” said a statement released by the foreign ministry on Monday.

Archbishop Gallagher voiced pleasure at an existing agreement between the Russian health minister and the Rome-based Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital.

He also noted that Russia and the Holy See are to sign an agreement to mutually recognize diplomas granted by each state.

But the broadcast was cut off when the British archbishop began to speak about “outstanding issues”.

During the press conference, both Lavrov and Gallagher welcomed the “good bilateral discussions” between the Vatican and Russia, and the convergence of views, especially “on the multilateral level”.

The Holy See diplomat’s trip confirms that Moscow and Rome continue to look for ways to bolster Vatican-Russia diplomatic relations, both on the political and religious levels.

“Perhaps this trip is the prelude to a joint initiative on the promotion of peace,” suggested an observer. He said Archbishop Gallagher’s visit should be seen from “a perspective that is more political than religious”.



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