Pope Francis May be the First Pope to Visit Russia
(Rome) The Vatican is preparing a possible journey by Pope Francis to Russia. The Corriere della Sera of today quotes Cardinal Secretary Pietro Parolin with the words:
"A trip to Russia to strengthen the bridges between East and West."
The Cardinal Secretary will visit Moscow in August. The main theme of the talks he is going to present there will cover an official visit of the Pope in Russia. Francis would be the first pope in the history of the Church to set foot on Russian soil, Cardinal Parolin told Corriere della Sera .
"The preparation of a possible visit by the Holy Father Francis in Russia is a reason for my visit," said the Cardinal.
Last March, Pope Francis was asked by Die Welt about his travel projects, replied, he could not visit Russia, but only to Ukraine.
The Cardinal Secretary was not consulted on this statement. He will meet Moscow State President Vladimir Putin and high representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, including Patriarch Cyril I of Moscow.
"In this historical moment, where we experience an increase in tensions and conflict in different parts of the world, peace is the highest priority for Pope Francis, but also for me personally."
The Holy See has a "special interest" in Eastern Europe, because of its rich cultural and religious traditions, but also because it is a key to greater stability of the continent and greater unity, including East-West relations. "