CWN - Pope Francis received Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, in audience on September 15.
According to the Moscow Patriarchate, the two discussed the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, joint efforts in the area of culture, and the February joint statement between the Pope and Patriarch Kirill.
Metropolitan Hilarion also gave Pope Francis, as a gift from Patriarch Kirill, a relic of a Russian monk, St. Seraphim of Sarov (1754-1833).
In addition, Metropolitan Hilarion met with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
“The participants focused on the situation of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa suffering at the hands of terrorists,” the Moscow Patriarchate said in a statement. “Both Metropolitan Hilarion and Cardinal Pietro Parolin consider the situation difficult, but hope that the negotiations between high-ranking officials of Russia and the USA will yield their good fruit.”