Metropolitan Hilarion: ‘Preparations for Pope-Kirill Meeting’

Are Already Underway

Metropolitan Hilarion
© Vatican Media

Preparations are underway for a meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, Head of the Russian Orthodox Church, said Metropolitan Hilarion, President of the External Relations Department of the Patriarchate of Moscow, in the course of a Russian TV program, dedicated to the Church. “Preparations for a meeting of this nature are underway,” he said. “When all the details regarding the date and place of the meeting are coordinated, we will make an announcement in this regard. So far, it’s too soon to announce it.”

The Havana Meeting

 The first meeting in history of two Primates of the Russian Orthodox Church and of the Roman Catholic Church was held in the airport of Havana, Cuba, on February 12, 2016. On that occasion, they drew up a Joint Declaration regarding topics of preeminent interest. “That meeting lasted over two hours. I think that there was truly brotherliness, but no mention was made of rapprochement or unification. Many suspect that secret negotiations are being held. No secret negotiations are being held, a unification is not foreseen. However, it is patently obvious that the two major Christian Churches should cooperate,” said Metropolitan Hilarion.

Metropolitan Hilarion in the Vatican

 Last December 12, before the General Audience, Pope Francis met Metropolitan Hilarion in the Vatican. As the Holy See Press Office announced, during the conversation held in a spirit of fraternity, some topics were discussed that constitute a motive of common concern and in face of which, the commitment is common to seek concrete human and spiritual answers. There was no official reference to the new possible meeting between Francis and Kirill, to whom the Pontiff made reference on the occasion of the press conference held on board the return flight from Greece.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester