MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his congratulations to Pope Francis with his 85th anniversary. The head of state noted Francis’ large personal contribution to the strengthening of the Russian-Vatican relations.
"It is hard to overestimate your personal contribution to the development of relations between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, and to the strengthening of the Russian-Vatican ties," says the telegram, published on the Kremlin’s website Friday.
Putin noted that he has fond memories of meeting with Francis, "the constructive and substantial talks, which confirmed the similarity of approaches of Russia and the Holy See to the most important international problems."
"I am certain that, with our joint efforts, we will be able to do a lot to protect the rights and interests of the Christians, and to ensure the multi-confessional dialogue," the President noted.
Putin and Francis met in person several times, the last meeting taking place in July 2019. Previously, the Pope said that his meeting with the Russian Patriarch Kirill is being discussed; however, the Moscow Patriarchate did not confirm this information, adding that this issue has not been discussed.