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Putin hands Russian Patriarch’s welcome letter to Pope Francis

November 26, 2013, 5:06 UTC+3 VATICAN CITY

Francis became the third pontifex Russian president met

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VATICAN CITY, November 26, 3:21 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday handed a welcome letter from the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I to Pope Francis, the press service of the Holy See said.

The meeting between the Russian President and the Pope was held in the library of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.

Federico Lombardi, the head of the press service said a possibility of an invitation to the Pope to visit Russia was not discussed. “No one expected it, actually,” he said.

The conversation between Putin and Francis focused on the Syrian crisis and the importance of putting an end to violence in that country.

“Pope Francis and President Putin spoke for a peaceful resolution of the conflict,” the communiqe issued by the press service said.

In the course of a “cordial conversation” between Putin and Francis, which was followed by Putin’s conversation with the Vatican’s State Secretary, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the sides stressed the solid foundation of relations between the Vatican and Russia. This was proved by some issues presenting mutual interest, for instance, the position of Roman Catholics in Russia and contribution to the maintenance of Christian values.

Specifically, the interlocutors discussed the problems that Christian religious minorities come to grips with in some regions of the world. Also, they spoke in favor of defending and fostering the values of life, family and human rights.

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