Pope Francis is ready to come to Moscow and speak with Vladimir Putin to beg him to stop the war in Ukraine, and has already tried three times to arrange a meeting with the Russian president. But, as the pontiff said in an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper on Tuesday, May 3, he has not received a response to any of his appeals to Putin since March.
“We have not received an answer, but we will continue our attempts, although I am afraid that Putin at the moment does not want and cannot take part in such a meeting,” he said. Pope Francis.
Patriarch Kirill told the Pope about the Russian position
The pontiff stressed that he had talked with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky back in early days of the war, while on the Russian side, only the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, spoke with the Pope, who, according to Francis, during a 40-minute video call on Zoom, “read for 20 minutes from a sheet of justification for the war.” “I listened to him and said: “My brother, we are not servants of the state and should not speak the language of politics, but the language of Jesus. A patriarch cannot make himself an altar boy to Putin.”
Shortly thereafter, the Vatican canceled a June 14 meeting between the two church leaders. In addition, the priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate urged to deprive Patriarch Kirill his dignity.
Francis also noted that at the moment he cannot come to Ukraine – some time ago, the head of the Vatican was invited to Kyiv by Vladimir Zelensky and the mayor of the city Vladimir Klitschko. According to the Pope, before this trip, he must meet with Putin.
The pontiff compared Russia’s war against Ukraine with the 1994 massacres of Tutsi people in Rwanda, which the world community recognized as genocide.
Since the beginning of the war, the head of the Catholic Church has repeatedly spoken out about the need to stop hostilities, including in appeals in Russian. And during the Easter Vigil, Francis said a prayer in Ukrainianafter during a ceremony in Rome, the Easter cross was carried together in the presence of the pope natives of Ukraine and Russia.