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Patriarch ‘cannot become Putin’s altar boy’, says Pope

In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera, the Holy Father warned Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church that the world does not need ‘state clerics’.

Pope Francis said that during a 40-minute phone discussion with Patriarch Kirill, half of it was spent on the Russian justifying the invasion of Ukraine.

“I listened and told him: I don’t understand anything about this. Brother, we are not state clerics, we cannot use the language of politics, but that of Jesus,” the Holy Father said.

“We are shepherds of the same holy people of God. That is why we must seek ways of peace.”

Pope Francis said on Tuesday that he had requested a meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss peace with Ukraine, however he did not receive a reply.

The request was made three-weeks into the conflict, which began in February.

The Holy Father made clear his willingness to travel to Moscow, saying: “Certainly, it was necessary for the Kremlin leader to allow an opening.

“We have not yet received a response and we are still insisting.”

However, Pope Francis stated that he feared the Russian president does not want to have the meeting.

“But how can you not stop so much brutality?” the Holy Father said.

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