On Wednesday afternoon 16 March Pope Francis met online with His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Metropolitan Hiliarion of Volokolamsk, President of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate, also took part in the meeting.
Responding to the questions of journalists, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruno, confirmed the following:
“The conversation focused on the war in Ukraine and the role of Christians and their pastors in doing everything for peace to prevail. Pope Francis thanked the Patriarch for the meeting, which was motivated by the aspiration to indicate, as pastors of their people, a path to peace, and to pray for the gift of peace, and for a ceasefire. ‘The Church ‒ the Pope stated agreeing with the Patriarch ‒ must never use the language of politics but the language of Jesus. … We are pastors of the same Holy People who believe in God, in the Most Holy Trinity, in the Holy Mother of God: for this reason we must unite in the effort to aid peace, to help those who suffer, to seek the ways of peace, to stop the fire’. Both highlighted the exceptional importance of the ongoing negotiation process, with Pope Francis stating, ‘Those who pay the price for war are the people, the Russian soldiers, and those who are bombed and die’. The Pope continued, ‘As pastors we have the duty to remain close and to help all those suffering due to the war. There was a time, even in our own Churches, when people spoke of holy war or just war. We can no longer speak like that today. The Christian awareness of the importance of peace has developed’. And, agreeing with the Patriarch that ‘the Churches are called to contribute to strengthening peace and justice’, Pope Francis concluded: ‘Wars are always unjust. For the price is paid by the people of God. Our hearts cannot but weep before the children and women killed, together with all the victims of war. War is never the way. The Spirit that unites us asks us as pastors to help the people who suffer from war’."
Photo © Servizio Fotografico | Vatican Media