The pope is still working on meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch

Papal Plane (AP) – Pope Francis on Sunday said he was still working to arrange a meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, although the leader argued for a Russian invasion of Ukraine and said he would not rule out travel. Region if it will help.

Speaking to reporters on his way home from Malta, Francis said he and Patriarch Kirill were considering a possible location in the Middle East. But he gave no details other than recalling what he said in the March 16 video.

Kirill has called for peace and protection of civilians but has apparently justified Russia’s invasion as a “physical” war with the West and its “gay parade.” His insistence that Russians and Ukrainians be “one man” has been echoed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Francis was asked what he would say if he spoke to Putin on the phone, and recalled what he had told Maltese leaders after his arrival on Saturday. In the speech, Francis blasted “powerful” for his “childish and destructive aggression” which he justified under the guise of “anarchist claims of nationalist interests”. Even then, he did not name Putin in his speech.

Francis insisted he had no immediate plans for a visit to Kyiv but that an offer was “on the table”.

“I said there is always availability. There is no ‘no’, “he said. But he stressed that any such trip would need to be evaluated to see if it would help, or even if it could be done. And he said that if it was determined that it would help. Maybe, “I must do it.”

He paid tribute to the journalists who died trying to cover the conflict, saying that they were providing courageous service for the common good.

“I want to express my sympathy for your colleagues who have fallen, no matter what, I don’t care,” he said. “Your work is a work for the common good. They died in the service of the common good: information. We will not forget them. They were brave. I pray for them and the Lord will reward them for their deeds. ”

Francis was also asked about his health, due to his apparent fight during a two-day trip to Malta. He uses an elevator to get on and off the plane and occasionally needs help to get up from his chair.

“My health is a bit awkward,” he said. “I have this problem in my knees which makes it difficult to move and walk. It’s a little painful. But it’s getting better. At least I can move on. “

He revealed that a few weeks ago, he could not walk – an apparent reference to the rest as directed by his doctors, which forced him to cancel a trip to Florence and Francis’ participation in the Ash Wednesday procession.

“We’ll see if I go back (there),” he said. “There is some doubt because at this age, you don’t know how it will end. We hope it works out. “

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

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