Putin and the Pope Find Common Ground on Syria, Not Church Tensions

Their 35-minute powwow touched on international affairs but ignored the elephant in the room

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Pope Francis met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vatican on Monday, discussing problems facing Christians throughout the world.

Putin and the Pope met for 35 minutes in a discussion that focused on diplomacy in the Middle East. The two share a common outlook that a peaceful solution is needed in Syria. But, according to Reuters, the meeting did not include a discussion of the strained relationship between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church — though Putin did bring a greeting from┬áPatriarch Kirill, the head of the Orthodox church.

The meeting was Putin’s first with Pope Francis; the Russian president had met Francis’s predecessors, Benedict and John Paul II. There hasn’t yet been any discussion of a possible Papal visit to Russia in the near future.