Plans for a meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow, who supported Russia’s war in Ukraine, have been put on hold. The meeting was previously expected to take place in June in Jerusalem.
Francis said he regretted that plans had to be “put on hold” because Vatican diplomats reported that such a meeting “could cause great confusion at the moment,” rbc.ua reported.
At the same time, he called his relationship with Kyril “very good”.
Earlier, the Vatican had considered extending the pope’s June 12-13 trip to Lebanon by a day so that he could meet with Kyril on June 14 in Jerusalem.
Francis has on several occasions implicitly criticized Russia and President Vladimir Putin for the war, using terms such as unjustified aggression and invasion, and condemning atrocities against civilians. At the same time, he never explicitly mentioned Russia or Putin.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), Kirill, explicitly blessed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The 2016 meeting between Francis and Kyrill in Cuba was the first between the pope and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church since the Great Schism that divided Christianity into eastern and western branches in 1054.