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Russian Patriarch's Office Denies Being in Secret Unification Talks With Pope Francis

© Sputnik / Sergei Pyatakov / Go to the mediabankPatriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Pope Francis during a meeting in Havana in 2016. External affairs chief at the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion (L)
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Pope Francis during a meeting in Havana in 2016. External affairs chief at the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion (L) - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.12.2021
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - External affairs chief at the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, pushed against the rumours that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Pope Francis are engaged in clandestine talks on uniting the two Churches.
Hilarion met with Pope Francis in Vatican City this past Wednesday. He told reporters after the meeting that the pope and Patriarch Kirill could meet in 2022, with the exact date and venue currently being discussed. According to him, this has prompted speculations that the two clerics are mulling to unify the Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox.
"Many people are now suspecting that some kind of a secret negotiation is underway. No secret talks are being held, no unification is being planned, but [the fact] that the two largest Christian Churches have to cooperate is obvious at the moment," Hilarion said in his TV show on Rossiya 24 channel.
In 2016, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill had a landmark meeting in Havana, issuing a joint declaration urging for global action to stop the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere. This was the first meeting between a Roman Catholic pope and a Russian Orthodox patriarch in 1,000 years since the Great Schism between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
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