Arrangements for the meeting between the Pontiff and the President of the ROC on February 12 followed two years of secret contacts between representatives of the two churches in Rome, Moscow and Havana, reports Reuters citing a source in the Vatican and diplomatic circles. The Agency does not specify at what level the meeting took place. In the end, the bout agreement in the Cuban capital was reached last fall, but on the insistence of the ROC this news remained secret for several more months.
The success of the negotiations was accompanied by the fact that native Argentina Francis was not connected to the historical differences between Russia and the West. In 2013, he opposed American intervention in Syria, and last year caused the dissatisfaction of Ukrainian Catholics, saying that the conflict in the East is not the result of “Russian aggression” and “fratricidal war”.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, who heads the Vatican’s Council for Christian unity, also expressed the opinion that the meeting between Francis and Cyril was made by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, however from the further comments the cardinal refused. That the meeting of the heads of the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church had anything to do with politicians and diplomats told Reuters, Russia’s Ambassador to the Holy see Alexander Avdeev.
The Agency sources believe that the Kremlin could use a meeting in Havana in their interests. Interlocutor Reuters in a diplomatic environment, said that Putin highly appreciates prospects contacts the ROC and the Vatican. According to him, the Russian President understands the important role of the Pope as an international player. “I think Putin will be very happy to get the opportunity to present the point of view of the Kremlin to the Vatican”, he said.
The head of the press service of the Moscow Patriarchate, Alexander Volkov did not rule out possible discussion of relations between Russia and the West at the meeting in Havana, the Agency said.
That the Pope for the first time in history will meet with the head of the ROC became known on 5 February. It is expected, will sign the Declaration on further relations between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church.