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Pope Francis tells Orthodox patriarch not to become 'Putin's altar boy'

Registro da videochamada entre Francisco e Kirill ocorrida em março.

Record of the video call between Francisco and Kirill that took place in March.

| Photo: Vatican News

In an interview with the Italian newspaper

Corriere Della Sera Pope Francis said he warned Orthodox Patriarch Kirill not to “become Putin’s altar boy”. The phrase was said during a video call made between the two religious leaders in March.

Asked whether Kirill could be the man to persuade the Kremlin leader to dialogue, the newspaper reports that the pontiff shook his head and revealed the content of the conversation. “I spoke to Kirill for 05 minutes via zoom. The first twenty, card in hand, he read to me all the justifications for the war. I listened and told him: I don’t understand any of this. Brother, we are not state clerics, we cannot use the language of politics, but that of Jesus.”

Then, according to the Italian daily, Francis would have continued his appeal: “We are pastors of the same holy people of God. For this we must seek ways of peace, to put an end to the fire of weapons. The patriarch cannot become Putin’s altar boy.”

Francis told although he had an appointment with the Russian religious, in Jerusalem, on the day 14 of June. It would be the second face-to-face meeting between the two and would have nothing to do with the war in Ukraine. Now, however, the plan is no longer viable: “he also agrees: we are going to suspend, it may be an ambiguous signal”.

In 750, Francis carried out a historic meeting with Patriarch Kirill, in Havana, Cuba. It was the first between a Roman pontiff and a patriarch of Moscow in almost a thousand years, since the first schism that divided Christianity in the world.

The pope also said in the interview that he had offered to meet President Putin in Moscow as part of the Holy See’s peace efforts, but the Kremlin has yet to respond. . “I fear that Putin cannot and does not want to have this meeting now,” Francis said, adding that he has no plans to go to Ukraine.

Although he severely criticizes the brutality of the war, when referring to the causes of the conflict, the pope reportedly said that “NATO’s barking at Russia’s door” may have led to the Kremlin chief reacting badly.

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