Putin to meet the Pope today

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Pope Francis on Thursday, amid speculation that the visit could be a prelude to the first trip by a pope to Russia.

A trip by the Pope to Russia was not possible because of tensions between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church.

The meeting will be also taking place a day before Ukraine’s Catholic leaders meet at the Vatican to discuss the crisis in their country.

Thursday’s meeting between the pope and Putin will be their first since Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill met in 2016, a landmark step in healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity.

Putin, who has met Francis twice before, is due to arrive at the Vatican in the early afternoon at the start of a lightning visit to Italy that will also include talks with Italian leaders.

Ukraine’s religious world was made tense last year when the country’s Orthodox Church, which for centuries effectively had been under control of the Russian Orthodox Church, declared its independence and set up a national Church.

Russia opposes the Ukrainian Orthodox Church having a self-governing status, saying the move had more political than religious motives.

Via Vatican News

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