Russia's Metropolitan Hilarion meets with Pope Francis in Vatican

With the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, met with Pope Francis in the Vatican on June 15, the press service of the Synodal Department reported on June 16.

With the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate\'s Department for External Church Relations, met with Pope Francis in the Vatican on June 15, the press service of the Synodal Department reported on June 16.

At the meeting, Metropolitan Hilarion conveyed Patriarch Kirill's greetings to Pope Francis.

"The parties discussed a wide range of issues, including the deplorable state of the Christian population in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the need to make joint efforts to protect the traditional idea of family in modern secular society. The topic of cooperation between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church in culture was addressed as well," the press service said.

Pope Francis also gave Metropolitan Hilarion a medal minted in honor of his pontificate. The representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, for his part, presented the pontiff with a replica of one of Russia's oldest Christ the Savior icon. The replica was created by Senior Deacon Alexy Trunin, who heads Moscow's Church of the Joy of All Who Sorrow Icon of the Mother of God.

On June 14, Metropolitan Hilarion met with His Eminence Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to discuss various aspects of relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Vatican.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis met in the Vatican on June 10.

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