Pope Francis received Russian President

June 10, 2015

June 10, 2015 Pope Francis received Russian president. That will be Russian president's first visit to Vatican since annexation of Crimea and waging war in Ukraine.

Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk wrote a letter to Pope Francis before this meeting. In it he said that the Ukrainian Church will closely follow this meeting with pray and great expectations for peace.

“In the letter I asked the Holy Father to become the voice of Ukrainian people his children, faithful Catholics that are suffering, so that the Pope, as our father, defended his children,” the Patriarch said.

He said, that much may depend on this meeting,. “We believe that Pope Francis and the Vatican diplomacy is well familiar with what is happening in Ukraine. He recalls that recently the Ukrainian bishops made the Ad Limina visit and could personally tell the pontiff about the “pain, blood and tears that overflow the Ukrainian land.”

Bishop Bogdan Dziurakh, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, said: “Many people in the world have recognized Pope Francis as a defender of the oppressed and persecuted. Therefore, I am sure he will consider this meeting with Russian president as an opportunity in order to take the side of the victims and to be their voice, or maybe rather the voice of God before his collocutor.

He added: “Media report, that Putin was willing to speak with the Pope about the fate of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. This is definitely a positive desire. However, one might ask, how honest and transparent this desire is? For it is inconceivable that instead of avoiding conflicts and resolving them peacefully, politicians took advantage of the suffering of many innocent people for their political purposes. In my opinion, political hypocrisy is the desire to present oneself as a defender of Christians in the Middle East, and at the same time be involved - directly or indirectly –in the murder of Christians in the neighboring country and support it because of the constant supply of weapons and thousands of soldiers and mercenaries.”

Bishop Bogdan said: “This reminds me of the biblical story, when prophet Nathan came to King David, and, talking about his crimes, first diplomatically told him the parable, and then, when the king was outraged at the frankly unfair behavior of the protagonist, openly told him: “You are that man!” (2 Sam 12, 1-13). Actually this is the biblical “daring” that is the “courage of truth”, which distinguished the prophets at all times. Therefore, I want to believe that the Holy Father knows very well who he will meet and talk to, and will not lack either diplomatic talent or prophetic courage.”

Ukrainian Ambassador to Italy Yevhen Perelyhin said he hopes that when Pope Francis meets Putin, he will "repeat the message he pronounced in Sarajevo recently: He who speaks of peace while conducting a war is a hypocrite."


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