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Vatican’s Secretary of State to discuss in Russia regional crises

August 20, 9:15 UTC+3 VATICAN

He said, the idea of visit to Russia emerged long before

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VATICAN, August 20. /TASS/. Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin will discuss in Russia issues of mutual interest as well as regional crises, the Hierarch of the Catholic Church said in an exclusive interview with TASS on the eve of the visit to Russia, due on August 21-24.

He said, the idea of visit to Russia emerged long before.

"The meeting with President Putin is scheduled for August 23. A day earlier, I will have a conversation with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. On August 21, I will meet with Catholic bishops of Russia and on the same evening I will serve a liturgy for the Catholic community of Moscow at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary," he said. "I will also meet with Patriarch Kirill and have a conversation with Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk."

The "Holy See simultaneously performs both a spiritual and a diplomatic role. That is why the Vatican diplomacy is of special nature. It does not rely on any other force, except for taking care of every person and every nation through dialogue. Taking into account these very aspects, I will discuss with my Russian dialogue partners the issues which are of mutual interest for us, as well as crises in different parts of the world, which are both distant and very near," the secretary of state continued.

The cardinal stressed Christians across the globe are facing common challenges of the modern world, including the threats of losing traditional values, and the threat of terrorism.

"When the churches insist on following the evangelical message and respecting the values established in the Holy Scripture, they do so not to humiliate a modern person or to put unnecessary pressure on him but to show the path to salvation and fulfillment. When performing this mission, which never ends, it is extremely important to establish effective cooperation between different religious denominations. It is also important because, as you noted, the challenges Christians are facing in the West and in Eastern Europe are seen from different angles. Greater mutual understanding between the Churches, exchange of experience in different regions, may become an important contribution to understanding of these problems. It is always useful to learn a different vision, so to speak, a look from beyond, in order to have the most complete picture of reality, less prone to the trends that gradually become very common," he said.

Parolin warned against use of force, which may "trigger spiraling violence or lead to violations of human rights, including the freedom of religion."

"During the past decades, the Holy See has been making all possible efforts to establish, strengthen or restore dialogue on the cultural and religious levels and in the social and humanitarian sphere. I’m absolutely convinced that life under the guidance of the Gospel would in itself make an important contribution into forming the society and culture, which simultaneously assists personal development and encourages an intense and constructive dialogue with other authentic cultures and religions," he continued.

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