Pope Francis on Thursday received Russian President Vladimir Putin in an audience at the Vatican. It's the Russian president's sixth visit to the Vatican, and his third audience with Pope Francis.
Here is the Full Text Official Communique from the Vatican:
Today, 4 July 2019, the Holy Father Francis received in audience, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the President of the Russian Federation, H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, and His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial discussions, both Parties expressed their satisfaction at the development of bilateral relations, further strengthened by the protocol of understanding signed today regarding the collaboration between the “Bambino Gesù” Paediatric Hospital and the paediatric hospitals of the Russian Federation. They then turned their attention to various questions of relevance to the life of the Catholic Church in Russia.
The Parties went on to consider the ecological question and various themes relating to current international affairs, with particular reference to Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela.Vatican News.va reports that :
Source: Holy See - Vatican.va
The two men met for the first time in 2013, shortly after Pope Francis' election to the papacy; and then in 2015. The urgent need to pursue peace in the Middle East, and especially in Syria, likewise featured prominently in earlier conversations. The conflict in Ukraine was also a focus of the meeting in 2015.
President Putin has also met with Pope Francis’ predecessors in the See of Peter. His first audience with a Pope came in the Jubilee Year 2000, when he met with Pope Saint John Paul II. At the time, President Putin noted the importance of the mission of the Holy See in the process of integration between East and West.
Three years later, the two leaders met again to discuss a number of issues, including the situation of Catholics in Russia, and the ecumenical dialogue between the Holy See and the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow. New initiatives for peace in the Holy Land and in Iraq were also part of the discussion.
Excerpt from VaticanNews.va