Pope Francis meets with Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Antonij
By Vatican News
Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Antonij of Volokolamsk visited the Vatican for the first time on Friday.
The meeting between the head of the Department for External Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow and Pope Francis is part of the ecumenical contacts between the Pope and the Patriarchate of Moscow, and follows the video conference between Pope Francis and the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow Kirill, which took place on March 16.
Metropolitan Antonij of Volokolamsk replaced Metropolitan Hilarion in June as president of the Department of External Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Metropolitan Hilarion had been sitting next to Patriarch Kirill during the online conversation in March, when the Pope expressed to the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia his conviction that, regarding the war in Ukraine, the duty of Christians and their pastors is to "do everything " possible "to help peace, to help those who suffer "and to stop the fire” because “those who pay the bill for the war are the people."
Subsequently, on 25 April, Pope Francis sent a letter of good wishes to Patriarch Kirill on the occasion of the Easter of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches that follow the Julian calendar.
“May the Holy Spirit," the Pope wrote in the letter, "transform our hearts and make us true peacemakers, especially for war-torn Ukraine", while "we feel all the weight of the suffering of our human family, crushed from violence, war and many injustices.”