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MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. The Kremlin is taking no part in preparations for a forthcoming meeting between Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill and Pope Francis, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Tuesday.
When asked to specify protocol details of the forthcoming meeting, Peskov said this question should be addressed to the Russian Orthodox Church.
He stressed that Kremlin has nothing to do with the preparations for the meeting. "This is a matter in the competence of the Russian Orthodox Church," he said.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Pope Francis are expected to meet at the Jose Marti international airport in Havana on February 12. Cuba will be the first destination of the pastoral visit of the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church to Latin America, during which he will also visit Paraguay, Chile and Brazil.
Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations Metropolitian Hilarion of Volokolamsk said earlier the two Church leaders would focus on the topic of persecution of Christians. "The issue of persecution of Christians will become a central one at this meeting," the metropolitan said, adding the meeting would be crowned by the signing of a joint declaration on further relations between the Holy See and the Russian Orthodox Church. He did not rule out Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis will address the topic of international terrorism.
Earlier, the Kremlin spokesman said the Kremlin hailed the upcoming meeting between Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis. "This is a mutual step forward, and, of course, just like everyone else, we hope that this meeting will be successful," Peskov said. "We highly appreciate the two church leaders’ readiness to hold such a meeting.".