“Positive momentum” behind proposal of Pope Francis visiting Russia,” Vatican Secretary of State says

There is “positive momentum” behind the proposal of Pope Francis visiting Russia, a prominent Vatican figure has said during a visit to the country. Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin was quoted by Reuters as making the comments during a joint press conference in Moscow with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Premier Radio reported.

“We appreciate the constructive trust-based dialogue between the Holy See and Russia,” Putin said. “The agreements reached during my contacts with Pope Francis are being consistently implemented as well, and we are very happy that the interchurch dialogue continues,” President Putin said.

Parolin’s visit marks the first of the Vatican’s Secretary of State to Russia in 19 years. The last to make the trip was Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who was in Moscow in 1999 to consecrate its Catholic cathedral.

“All of Russia’s Christians express special thanks to you and to Pope Francis for this,” Putin added, before highlighting an art exhibition of works from the Vatican museums held at the Tretyakov Gallery. The Russian leader said a reciprocal event is being prepared, and it could take place in 2018.