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Putin, Pope exchange gifts after meeting in Vatican

The Pope received a CD with Andrey Konchalovsky’s film and the Russian president got an etching depicting St. Petersburg
Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin  Alessandro Di Meo/Pool Photo via AP
Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin
© Alessandro Di Meo/Pool Photo via AP

VATICAN CITY, July 4. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis have exchanged gifts following their 45-minute conversation that took place in the Vatican Apostolic Library.

Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told TASS that the Pope received an icon depicting Apostles Peter and Paul, as well as a CD version of Russian director Andrey Konchalovsky’s film Sin about Michelangelo Buonarroti as a gift from the President.

"This is a very good film," the Russian President told Pope Francis. He also expressed hope that the Pontiff will find time to watch it.

In turn, the Pope presented Putin with a personally signed Message for the World Day of Peace 2019, an official medal of the sixth year of Pope Francis' pontificate, marking 100th anniversary of the World War I end and a 1774 etching art piece depicting the view of the St. Peter’s Square by Giuseppe Vasi. The medal has a quote from the August 24, 1939 radio address of Pope Pius XII engraved on it, which reads "Nothing is lost with peace, everything may be lost with war".

Speaking about the etching piece, the Pope pointed out that he was giving it as a gift for Putin so that he "wouldn’t forget Rome." "And so that you don’t forget Rome, I present to you the artwork from the 18th century," he said. Putin promised to find the worthiest of places for it.

In the end of the meeting, Putin introduced the members of the official Russian delegation to the Pope, which included Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov, Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova and Russian Ambassador to the Vatican Alexander Avdeyev. All of them received small memorable gifts from Pope Francis. Then, the Russian leader held a separate meeting with the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.