Looking back on Pope Francis' meetings with Putin

 | 
03/03/2022
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Pope Francis met with Vladimir Putin for the first time eight months into his papacy in November 2013. 

Their meeting came just one month after both Russia and the Holy See had called on the United States not to take military action in the conflict in Syria. 

There, Putin, a Russian Orthodox, gave the Pope an icon of Our Lady of Tenderness. 

-'I hope you like it.'
-'Yes, I like it.'

He then made the sign of the cross, and Pope Francis followed suit amid the flash of the cameras.

In 2015, they met under very different circumstances, after Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine the year prior.

Pope Francis urged the Russian president to respect the recently signed ceasefire agreement, and allow humanitarian workers access into the region.

In 2019, Putin showed up an hour late to the Apostolic Palace for his meeting with the Pope. The two met for nearly an hour, and discussed Russia's increasing presence in Venezuela, Syria, and Ukraine. 

The Pope gave him a copy of the message of peace he gives to world leaders...

-'This is the message of peace this year that I signed today for you.'

He also gave him a document he co-authored on human fraternity with Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb. The Russian president then thanked him for their conversation.

-'Thank you also for the very substantial and interesting conversation.'

That same week Pope Francis met with the leaders of the Ukranian Greek Catholic Church, including Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who has been a fierce advocate against Russian advacements into Ukraine.

In total, Putin has visited the Vatican six times, more than almost any other political leader. He met with Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 and with Pope John Paul II in 2000, and 2003.

JM

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