Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Pope Francis for the third time in the first week of July, a senior Vatican source has confirmed to America.
The two leaders first met on Nov. 25, 2013, and again on June 10, 2015. The fact that they are meeting for a third time shows that President Putin considers Pope Francis an influential player and moral authority on the global stage.
Though the agenda for their private conversation is not known, sources say the situations in Ukraine and the Middle East, particularly in Syria and the Holy Land, will be high on the list, since both have political and religious dimensions that are of concern to both sides. Venezuela is also expected to be discussed.
Both leaders have a particular interest in the situation in Ukraine. Pope Francis has invited the major archbishop, the members of the permanent synod and the metropolitans of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to Rome on July 5 and 6.The fact that they are meeting for a third time shows that Putin considers Pope Francis an influential player and moral authority on the global stage.Tweet this
“With this meeting, the Holy Father wishes to give a sign of his closeness to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church that carries out pastoral service both at home and in various places in the world,” the Vatican said in its announcement on May 4.
Moreover, it said, the meeting “will also offer a further opportunity to deepen the analysis of the life and needs of Ukraine, with the aim of identifying the ways in which the Catholic Church, and in particular the Greek-Catholic Church, can dedicate itself ever more effectively to preaching the Gospel, contributing to the support of those who suffer and promoting peace, in agreement, as far as possible, with the Catholic Church of the Latin rite and with other Churches and Christian communities.”