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    Vatican secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin arrives at an event where the Bambino Gesu hospital's annual report will be released at the Vatican, Tuesday, July 4, 2017

    Official Visit of Vatican State Secretary to Russia Begins on Monday

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    The official visit of Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to Russia is due to begin on Monday and will last through Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — During the visit the top diplomat of the Holy See is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.

    In the talks with the Russian leadership, Parolin is expected to touch upon urgent international problems such as the situation in the Middle East, in Ukraine and in the South Caucasus.

    Before his departure to Moscow on Sunday, Parolin said that a possible visit by Pope Francis to Russia would not be on agenda of his talks.

    However, earlier in August, Parolin told the Italian Corriere Della Sera newspaper that one of the aims of his trip to Russia was to make preparations for the potential visit of Pope Francis to the country.

    Pope Francis has never visited Russia. The heads of the Russian Orthodox Church and Catholic Church met for the first time in 2016 in Cuba’s capital, Havana.

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