Pope Francis on Thursday received Vladimir Putin in an audience at the Vatican. It’s the Russian president’s sixth visit to the Vatican, and his third audience with Pope Francis.
Following the meeting which lasted about one hour, a communiqué released by the Holy See Press Office said the Pope received the President of the Russian Federation in the Apostolic Palace, and that President Putin subsequently met with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and with the Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.
The communiqué continued saying that “During the cordial discussions, both Parties expressed their satisfaction at the development of bilateral relations, further strengthened by the protocol of understanding signed today regarding the collaboration between the “Bambino Gesù” Paediatric Hospital and the paediatric hospitals of the Russian Federation”.
Other issues discussed included questions of relevance to the life of the Catholic Church in Russia.
Pope Francis and President Putin also went on to consider the ecological question and various themes relating to current international affairs, with particular reference to Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela.
Relations between Russia and the Holy See saw a turning point in December 1989, toward the end of the Soviet era, when Mikhail Gorbachev met with St John Paul II. It was the first meeting of a Pope with a Soviet leader. Diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the Soviet Union were established following the encounter.
Source: Vatican news