The Vatican’s Secretary of state at the end of August will visit Russia to discuss cooperation between the two Churches and international issues

*** He does not intend to discuss the possibility of the Pope’s visit to Russia, but hopes for progress in this direction

Rome. 9 Aug. INTERFAX – Vatican’s Secretary of State cardinal Pietro Parolin said that during his visit to Russia in late August, expects to hold talks with the leaders of Russia and Patriarch Kirill.

The Italian newspaper “Corriere della sera” reports that the trip will take place from 20 to 24 August.

In an interview with the cardinal explained that in recent years have visited lot of post-Soviet countries, particularly Belarus, Ukraine, Baltic countries. “Thus, I will now be able, so to speak, to complete the picture, after the visit to Russia. As happens in such cases, I can recall local Catholics about the spiritual proximity with them of Pope Francis. Also I will meet with the most senior Russian leaders to talk about bilateral and international issues”, – said the Vatican’s Secretary of state.

He confirmed that, “barring something unforeseen” during the visit, will also meet with Patriarch Kirill.

Answering a question on, whether he intends to discuss with Russia the situation in Ukraine, Syria and the Middle East, P. Parolin said that “these problems, as well as conflicts in other parts of the world, always concern and careful attention on the part of the Holy see”.

“The need is urgent and peaceful way to solve problems is sure to become one of the main themes in my talks,” – said the interlocutor of the newspaper.

Speaking of upcoming contacts with the Russian Church, the cardinal said that he would go to Moscow as “employee of Pope Francis,” so we’ll give Patriarch Kirill, first of all, a warm and fraternal greeting of the Pope.

“I think we will also have the opportunity to discuss the interaction of our Churches, as well as the issue of interaction between Church and society on the spiritual, political and cultural issues.”

P. Parolin stressed that the purpose of his visit is discussion of the possibility of the Pontiff’s visit to Russia. “Among the goals of my visit is not mentioned the question of preparing a possible visit of Pope Francis to Russia. At the same time, I hope that with God’s help, my visit will lead to positive developments in this direction,” he said.