Relations between the two states have an important religious meaning, since the Russian government has strong links to the Russian Orthodox Church.
After the meeting, Avdeev introduced the embassy staff to the Pope.
Though the two states have had relations since 1990, four years ago Russia elevated their office to the Vatican into a full-fledged embassy.
“Pray for us. It is necessary.”
As a gift, Pope Francis gave the Russian ambassador a newly-minted papal medallion of his pontificate. Using his French, he also asked for his now-famous request, to pray for him.