11 February 2016, 13:57
Russian Foreign Ministry welcomes upcoming meeting between Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis (updated)
Moscow, February 11, Interfax - The Russian Foreign Ministry welcomes an upcoming meeting between Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Pope Francis and views it as exceptionally important.
"Naturally, we cannot but welcome dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. I think the significance of the first such meeting in history is clear to anyone," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov said in an interview with Interfax when asked about the Foreign Ministry's attitude toward the upcoming meeting.
"We, as a state, have relations with the Vatican, they are developing dynamically, and they assumed diplomatic status not so long ago. We value the incumbent Pope Francis's stance on a number of international problems," Meshkov said.
Moscow maintains continuous dialogue with the Vatican, including at the ministerial and expert levels, and various cultural projects are being explored, he said.
"Our Vatican counterparts and we are working in international organizations, including on an issue that is very sensitive to millions of Christians, namely the persecution of Christianity, primarily in the conflict area in the Middle East," Meshkov said.
"We actively support the protection of Christians and dialogue between various world religions," he added.
It was reported earlier, that a meeting between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis is planned for February 12, in Cuba.