Russian President Vladimir Putin and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, hailed progress in Catholic-Orthodox relations during an hour-long meeting last week.

The pair met at the president’s residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, according to the Vatican press office.

Mr Putin told the cardinal that he was “very pleased to see that the dialogue continues between our churches”. He said there was “no doubt that the common humanitarian values that the Holy See and the Russian Orthodox Church defend form the foundation for relations between the two churches and between Russia as a state and the Vatican”.

Cardinal Parolin told Mr Putin: “I see a new dynamic that has emerged over the recent months and years in relations between the two churches.

“I hope that all participants in this process will continue working in this direction in order to … bring us even closer together.”

A day earlier Cardinal Parolin had met Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. At a press conference they told reporters they had discussed conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, the Holy Land and Venezuela. The cardinal had called for Russia to use its close ties to Venezuela to help ease tensions there.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection