An ancient Russian icon of the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus. Pope Francis has announced that he will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a ceremony of consecration on March 25 in Rome (more on this to come in another letter)
Letter #48, Wednesday, March 16, 2022: Pope Francis speaks with Patriarch Kirill in Moscow (photos below)
The following statement was just released from by the news service of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, Russia (link):
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia spoke with Pope Francis
DECR Communication Service, 03/16/22.
On March 16, 2022, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia had a conversation with Pope Francis via remote communication.
On behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, took part in the conversation.
The head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, was present from the Roman Catholic Church.
His Holiness cordially greeted the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church, expressing satisfaction with the possibility of organizing a conversation.
Further, a detailed discussion of the situation on Ukrainian soil took place.
Particular attention was paid to the humanitarian aspects of the current crisis and the actions of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church to overcome its consequences.
The parties stressed the exceptional importance of the ongoing negotiation process, expressing their hope for the soonest achievement of a just peace.
Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill also discussed a number of current issues of bilateral cooperation.
Photo by the press service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
So, what does this mean?
As the Italian-based website Il sismografo summarizes nicely:
In the conversation of Patriarch Kirill with Pope Francis today the two men discussed:
—the exceptional importance of the ongoing negotiation process between Russia and Ukraine
—the need to achieve a just peace as soon as possible
—what the situation is in Ukraine
—what are the humanitarian aspects of the current crisis
—what actions the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church are taking and may take to overcome the consequences oif the conflict
It is likely that there will be a Vatican version of the interview in the next few hours. —RM
The photos below, released by the Moscow Patriarchate, show the Russian Orthodox officials (Patriarch Kirill, Metropolitan Hilarion, and a translator) in a room in Moscow, speaking via video link-IP with Pope Francis and Cardinal Kurt Koch in Rome.