Pope meets with Metropolitan Hilarion in Budapest
By Vatican News staff reporter
After his morning appointments on the second day of his visit to Hungary, Pope Francis met privately on Saturday with Archbishop Hilarion, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Budapest and Hungary, in the Apostolic Nunciature where he is staying.
The former Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, Russia, was appointed to this post in June 2022, after serving for thirteen years as head of the Department of External Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow, and was known informally as Patriarch Kirill's "foreign minister".
A cordial meeting
The possibility of a meeting with Archbishop Hilarion had been anticipated by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, on 21 April, during his briefing on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Hungary. Mr. Bruni stated, however, that an audience was not a part of the official agenda.
As reported by the Holy See, the audience, which took place with the help of an interpreter, was cordial and lasted about 20 minutes.
The Holy Father greeted the Metropolitan with a hug and kissed his Panagia, the enkolpion worn by Eastern Orthodox bishops.
Pope Francis and Hilarion last met on 22 December 2021 in the Vatican. On that occasion, according to the Holy See Press Office, the pair discussed some issues of common concern and their commitment "to seek concrete human and spiritual responses".
The first meeting between Pope Francis and the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan took place on 20 March 2013, the day after the beginning of the Pope's Petrine ministry. It was followed by several other encounters, including the one on the occasion interreligious event “Brother Peoples, Future Land" organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio in Rome on 7 October 2021.
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