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Russia's foreign minister describes relations with Roman Catholic Church as “frozen”

Metropolitan Antonij of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, described relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church as at an impasse.

For the program, “Church and Peace,” on the “Russia 24” TV channel, he said that relationship between the two Churches are “practically frozen.”

This comes less than one month after Pope Francis' trip to Kazakhstan for the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, where many had anticipated a meeting between the Pope and Patriarch Kirill.

In the end, however, Kirill did not attend. But, in a brief encounter with Metropolitan Antonij, Pope Francis asked for another chance to meet with the Patriarch.

How is Patriarch Kirill? 

Good, good. 

Tell him I say hello. 

We spoke yesterday and he asked me to pass along his greeting. 

As do I to him.

That at another time we may have another meeting.

In the interview for “Russia 24,” Metropolitan Antonij also said that comments made by the Pope and his aides have “not contributed to the preparation of a new meeting.”

The Metropolitan could be referring to a comment the Pope made on his flight back from Kazakhstan.

Sometimes dialogue must be done like this, but it has to be done. It smells bad, but it has to be done. Always one step ahead, an outstretched hand, always. Because otherwise we close the only reasonable door to peace.

The only times Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill have met were in person in 2016 in Havana, Cuba and for a video call in March.