2017-08-16 10:00:00

Patriarch Kirill, Vatican state secretary to discuss Ukraine situation

Moscow, August 16, Interfax - The Ukrainian issue will be among topics to be discussed during an upcoming visit to Moscow by the Holy See's Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on August 20-24.

"The Ukrainian issue is still on the agenda and remains problematic in the relations between the two Churches because of the occasional destructive activities of the Greek Catholics in Ukraine, and it also has a humanitarian dimension," Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), the Synodal Department for External Church Relations' secretary for inter-Christian relations, told Interfax-Religion.

"The Russian Orthodox Church values Vatican's position on this issue, which precludes the use of the Holy See for speculations aimed at further escalating the Ukrainian crisis and moving the country's conflict into a purely religious domain," Father Stefan said.

The visit is taking place against the backdrop of the intensified relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and Vatican after a meeting between the Patriarch and the Pope and will "signify another stage of a cooperation that evolves across a variety of areas," the priest said.

"The Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church are the biggest Christian communities in the world. Their leaders are not afraid of assuming the responsibility to exert authoritative influence on today's social processes, raising their voice in defense of traditional moral values, in support of the Christians suffering in various world regions, primarily in the Middle East, and on a whole host of other issues a successful resolution of which will define the future of the entire humankind," Father Stefan said.

When asked whether the prospect of Pope Francis visiting Moscow might be discussed at the meeting, the priest recalled a recent interview in which the Vatican state secretary said that he had no intention of discussing the matter with the patriarch during his visit.