ROME, August 9. /TASS/. The dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is ‘difficult, but has never been interrupted,’ Vatican Secretary of State (Head of Government) Cardinal Pietro Parolin said in an interview with the Italian geopolitical magazine Limes.
"The dialogue [between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church] is difficult, <…> [it] proceeds in small steps and also experiences ups and downs. But in general it has not been interrupted," the hierarch said. He recalled that a second meeting between the patriarch and the pope in Jerusalem had been planned for June of this year, but was postponed due to the events in Ukraine because "it would not have been understood and the weight of the ongoing war would have affected it too much." The cardinal believes it is inappropriate to call the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's departure from the Moscow Patriarchate caused by disagreement with the Russian military operation a "schism."
He also slammed the criticism of the pope, whom some have accused of being ‘Russophile’, as unfair. According to Parolin, this is an incredible simplification of understanding reality. The pontiff's calls for peace and rejection of violence cannot be characterized in this way.
Many expect the postponed meeting between the patriarch and the pope to take place in Nur-Sultan in mid-September, during the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. Francis has already confirmed his participation.
On August 5, Pope Francis received Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations. The meeting was confidential, but it is possible that details of a postponed meeting between the patriarch and the pope were discussed.