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Pope Francis

Nicolás Maduro meets with the pope in surprise visit to Rome

October 24, 2016. Pope Francis met with Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. The private visit took place in the midst of the "worrysome political, social, and economic situation the country is going through, which is having serious repercussins in the daily life of the people,” according to a statement from the Vatican.

Holy See and Vietnam begin their 6th bilateral meeting today

October 24, 2016. The sixth meeting between the Holy See and a delegation of Vietnam begins today to improve relations between the two states. The Vatican delegation is headed by Antoine Camilleri, while the head of the Vietnamese delegation is Bui Thanh Son, with Foreign Affairs. The last meeting between the two state delegations was in September 2014.
Pope Francis

Pope to award 2016 Ratzinger Prize to Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles

October 20, 2016. The winners of this year's Ratzinger Prize will be Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles. The former, an Italian priest, is an expert in Systematic Theology and History of Medieval Theology. The latter is Greek and an Orthodox. He is an expert in History of Dogmas and Dogmatic Theology. He will be the first Orthodox to be awarded the prize given by the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation, considered by many the Nobel Prize of Theology.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends his condolences to Thais after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

October 14, 2016. Pope Francis has sent a message to the Prime Minister of Thailand to express his condolences for the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was 88 years old, and his reign spanned seven decades. Pope Francis said he is "deeply saddened” and he expresses his closeness to the members of the royal family and the Thai people.
Pope Francis

Pope sends 100,000 dollars for Hurricane Matthew victims

October 14, 2016. Through the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Pope Francis will send $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The money will fund relief efforts in the first stages of recovery after the devastating effects of the hurricane. With this gesture, the pope wants to express his "closeness of spirit and fatherly support” to everyone in the affected area.
Pope Francis

Pope authorizes new decrees of heroic virtues for four potential saints

October 11, 2016. Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree of heroic virtues to four people, who are being investigated by the Church for possible sainthood. The decrees were given to the following "Servants of God:”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis rejects death penalty on Twitter: #NoDeathPenalty

October 10, 2016. The Pope has has given his support via Twitter to the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The following message can be read in each of his nine accounts, in their respective languages: "Punishment should necessarily include hope! #NoDeathPenalty.”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis announces Synod about youth and vocation

October 6, 2016. It will be held in 2018 under the name "Youth, faith, and vocational discernment.” Preparations for the second Synod of bishops convened by Pope Francis are well underway.

Theme chosen for 2017 World Communications Day

September 29, 2016. The theme for the 2017 World Communications Day has officially been announced. Coming from the book of Isiah, the theme is: "Fear not, for I am with you: communicating hope and trust in our time.”
Pope Francis

Pope will not be able to travel to Israel on Friday to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres

September 28, 2016. Despite the rumors that Pope Francis will travel to Israel to attend Shimon Peres funeral, the Vatican has issued a statement officially announcing a confirmation for the pope's scheduled visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan will remain as planned on Friday. The pope spoke warmly about the former leader and sent out a telegram of condolences:
Pope Francis

Pope's schedule during his trip to Sweden

September 27, 2016. Pope Francis will travel to Sweden next October 31 and November 1, for the occasion of the Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation.This will be the 17th trip of his pontificate.

Russian Ambassador to the Holy See: Gorbachev was impressed by John Paul II


Twenty five years ago the world was much different. The Berlin Wall still divided Europe and the fate of Communism was still uncertain. On December 1st, 1989, former Communist President Mikhail Gorbachev traveled to the Vatican to meet with John Paul II.  A Polish Pope, who had directly experienced the effects of communism. 

Russian Ambassador to the Holy See
"President Gorbachev was delighted after meeting John Paul II. In fact, he spoke very highly of him. He was impressed by the knowledge the Pope had, by his spirit of virtue. Also for sending his encouragement to the people of the Soviet Union.” 

A few months after their meeting the Soviet Union and the Holy See re-engaged in diplomatic relations. The Berlin Wall was about to crumble and the USSR was willing to open its doors. 

Russian Ambassador to the Holy See
"For us, this visit meant engaging in good relationship with the Vatican, the most important  spiritual and religious center in the world. From the start, our diplomatic ties and the dialogue between both of these leaders, gave us hope. It seemed like we could solve the problems of the world with negotiations and the spirit of John Paul II.”

In 2009, Russia decided to improve its diplomatic ties with the Holy See, by having a permanent representative. Alexander Avdeed, who served as Russia's Minister of Culture, became the first Russian ambassador to the Holy See. 

Another key anniversary came when Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Pope Francis for the very first time. 

Russian Ambassador to the Holy See
"I talked to the President after their meeting and he said he was satisfied. He was very impressed by the wisdom, knowledge and clarity of the Pope and by his role in the international scene. I think this visit strengthened the political and cultural ties between Russia and the Vatican.”

Much has changed in the last century. Now, the Ambassador says the country is more than ready to host a Papal trip.

Russian Ambassador to the Holy See
"Why not?”

Despite the good relations embraced by the Vatican and the Russian Government, the Russian Orthodox Church still remains somewhat distant from the Holy See. The Pope has never met with the Patriarch of Moscow.

Roughly 146 million people live in Russia. Only one percent is Catholic.