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Pope Francis said to be seeking further ecumenical dialogue with Patriarch Kirill

Church leaders could meet later, but not now, the Holy See’s official remarks

NUR-SULTAN, September 14. /TASS/. Pope Francis would like to continue the ecumenical dialogue with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the Secretary for Relations with States within the Holy See’s Secretariat of State, Paul Richard Gallagher, told TASS on Wednesday.

"We are talking about two different things: the pontiff would like to continue the ecumenical dialogue with the patriarch [Kirill of Moscow and All Russia]. Apart from the issues of [the] hostilities, if there is a request from both sides, the Holy See would be ready to help where it can," the prelate said on the sidelines of the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.

He said the patriarch of Rome and Patriarch Kirill could meet later, but not now.

Commenting on a potential trip to Kiev by the Pope, Gallagher said any future visit would depend on the 85-year-old pontiff’s health condition.

"In this toughest moment of conflict, both the Holy See and the pope are at everybody’s disposal. Trips [to Kiev or Moscow] will depend on the pope’s health condition. Today, we are making this trip [to Kazakhstan], and we will wait and see about tomorrow," Gallagher said.

Pope Francis is attending the Nur-Sultan-hosted event as part of his apostolic visit to Kazakhstan. According to a TASS reporter in the pope’s press pool, the pontiff has difficulty moving. He is using a wheelchair and can walk a few steps supporting himself with a cane. With undisguised pain, he stands up and sits down in his wheelchair leaning on his assistants. The pope has long been suffering from knee pain and has said the doctors do not recommend that he travel at all.