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Pope with Metropolitan Hilarion © L'Osservatore Romano

Pope with Metropolitan Hilarion © L'Osservatore Romano

After Cardinal Parolin in Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion Sees Pope

Thanks Francis for Loaning Relics of 4th Century St Nicholas of Myra

About a month after the Vatican Secretary of State’s visit to Russia, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion made a private visit to Pope Francis this morning, in his residence Santa Marta.

According to Vatican Radio, during the visit, the primary diplomat of the Russian Orthodox Church, thanked the Pontiff for his having recently loaned the relics of the 4th century Saint Nicholas of Myra.

Recently, for about a two-month period, the saint’s relics were moved from the southern Italian city of Bari to Moscow and St Petersburg. While in Russia, the relics drew great crowds of Orthodox pilgrims.

According to the official site of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, over the weekend, the Metropolitan, who heads the Russian Orthodox Church’s department for external church relations, met with Benedict XVI in the Vatican. They were said to have discussed the encounter of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Havana, Cuba, in February 2016, where they signed a joint pastoral declaration, and how the Russian Orthodox Church is being revitalized.

Speaking to Vatican Radio following the Metropolitan’s meeting with Francis, Hilarion noted that while relations have been warming between Moscow and Rome, there are no current plans for Pope Francis to visit Russia, or for Patriarch Kirill to visit the Vatican.

No Pope has ever visited Russia.


About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis':

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