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Patriarch Kirill cancels Kazakhstan journey and likelihood to satisfy with Pope Francis

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on Unity Day, Nov. 4, 2016, in Moscow.(Picture: The Kremlin/Wikipedia/Inventive Commons)

(RNS) — A gathering between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, the pinnacle of the Russian Orthodox Church, seems to be scrapped after the cleric, who has been broadly criticized for his justifications for the invasion of Ukraine, pulled out of a gathering of non secular leaders in Kazakhstan subsequent month.

According to Reuters, a senior Russian Orthodox official advised the Russian information company RIA on 24 August that Kirill won’t attend the Congress of Leaders of World Religions within the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan subsequent month. Francis, who’s slated to attend the gathering, was said to be hoping for an encounter with Kirill on the sidelines of the occasion.

Whereas the 2 met in 2016 in Havana, the abrupt cancellation marks the second time because the Ukraine struggle began that an opportunity for the 2 church leaders to satisfy has been scratched. Francis was anticipated to talk with Kirill in June in Jerusalem, however Vatican officers had been involved that the encounter would have diplomatic repercussions.

Earlier than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Francis had sought a gathering with Kirill in Moscow as a step towards reconciliation between probably the most populous western Christian denomination and the biggest within the Orthodox realm. In December 2021, Francis met with Archbishop Ieronymos, the pinnacle of Greece’s Orthodox Church, and provided an apology for Catholic enmity in opposition to Orthodox Christians up to now. Shortly afterward, Kirill’s high international relations aide visited Rome and mentioned “particular dates and venues” for a gathering.

With the start of the Ukraine struggle in February, nonetheless, the tenor of such a gathering modified. Throughout a video name between the leaders in March, Francis pressed Kirill on his Ukraine rhetoric, suggesting the Russian chief’s remarks had been harking back to spiritual language used to justify violent imperialism.

“As soon as upon a time there was additionally speak in our church buildings of holy struggle or simply struggle,” Francis advised Kirill. “Immediately we can’t communicate like this.”

Talking to the Italian press after the decision, Francis criticized Kirill’s help for the struggle and recommended the patriarch that he risked changing into “Putin’s altar boy.”

Kirill has been criticized for laying the spiritual groundwork for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, casting Ukraine as an indivisible a part of Russia’s religious and historic legacy. He has referred to Russia’s opponents in Ukraine as “evil forces” and used a sermon to border the struggle as a part of a “metaphysical” wrestle in opposition to an immoral West.

His critics have referred to as on the World Council of Church buildings to expel the Russian Orthodox Church from its ranks. The European Union reportedly drafted sanctions in opposition to him, however in the end dropped them from the final round of sanctions in June on the request of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a Putin ally. The UK announced later that month it will sanction the ROC head.

It was not instantly clear if the 2 nonetheless intend to discover a solution to meet within the close to future.

© Religion News Service

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