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Pope-patriarch meeting to open Rome’s dialogue with Orthodox world — expert

February 09, 21:50 UTC+3 ROME
According to Marco Politi, the author of several books on papacy, the forthcoming meeting, which will take place in Havana, has a great political interest for the Vatican and Russia
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Pope Francis I and the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Kirill I

Pope Francis I and the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Kirill I

© EPA/GIORGIO ONORATI, Denis Kozhevnikov/TASS

ROME, February 9 /TASS/. A meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill scheduled for February 12 will open a dialogue between Rome and the Orthodox world, Marco Politi, the author of several books on papacy, told TASS on Tuesday.

This meeting will end a period of stagnation and will open the Roman Catholic Church’s dialogue with the entire Orthodox world, the expert said.

According to him, the forthcoming meeting, which will take place in Havana, has a great political interest for the Vatican and Russia. It will help strengthening the Vatican’s role in the international arena via ecumenical dialogue. Pope Francis understood earlier than politicians that terrorism was posing the threat of a third world war and that it was necessary to join efforts in the struggle against this evil just like the world once did for fighting Nazism, Politi said.

According to him, this long-awaited meeting between the heads of the Roman-Catholic and Orthodox Churches has become possible thanks to the fact that the pontificate of Pope Francis is based on the principles of Synodal rule.

It is no longer that old authoritarian Catholicism. Pope Francis has said many times that it is necessary to learn the principles of Synodal rule from Orthodox Christians. The incumbent pontiff has given up his imperial attitude with its proselytism and respects the autonomy of other churches, the expert on Vatican studies said.

Politi replied negatively when asked if the meeting with Patriarch Kirill and other steps by Pope Francis could cause antagonism in the Roman Catholic Church.

"No, there is some kind of unanimity on this matter. Pope Francis has finished the process, which got under way under Pope John Paul II and continued under Benedict XVI," Politici told TASS.

Pope Francis and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill will sign a declaration at their historic meeting in Cuba’s capital Havana on February 12, Apostolic Nuncio in Russia Ivan Yurkovich told journalists on Tuesday.

He said the declaration’s text had been prepared and finalized and would be known to journalists before the meeting.

"Both sides have worked out the declaration in detail. It will be available to the journalists accompanying the pontiff on his trip before the meeting starts. The declaration will be distributed in four languages so that broad public could understand what it says better and faster," Yurkovich said.

"The Vatican’s speaker refrained from any judgements on its [the declaration’s] content," the papal nuncio said.

Lithuanian priest Visvaldas Kulbokas will be an interpreter at this Friday’s meeting between Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill and Pope Francis, BNS, the largest pan-Baltic news agency, said on February 8.

For the moment, Kulbokas, 41, is a member of the Holy See’s diplomatic service. He interpreted the pontiff’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in June 2015.

Kulbokas used to be the first secretary of the Holy See’s (Vatican’s) embassy in Moscow. He is a graduate of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. Only four representatives of Lithuania have undergone training in the most prestigious institution of high learning of the Roman Catholic Church.

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