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Pope Francis, Vladimir Putin Have 'Cordial' First Meeting

Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for the first time at the Vatican Monday.
Posted at 11:59 AM, Nov 26, 2013

The Pope and President Putin: an unlikely duo, perhaps.

The pair met for the first time Monday in a private meeting at the Vatican, which the office of the Holy See described as “cordial” and “constructive.” (Via Euronews) 

A writer at The Daily Beast notes, “[the] visit marks the first serious foray into international affairs by the popular pope.”  

That’s because the situation in Syria was on the agenda. Both Vatican and Russia are opposed to military intervention, and reportedly discussed the need for a negotiated deal to end the violence. (Via NBC

But one major issue did go unaddressed.

According to The New York Times,  “the ‘ecumenical question’ between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches…  was not discussed.”

The rift between the two dates back to after the fall of the Soviet Union when the Russian Orthodox Church accused the Catholic Church of trying to recruit its members — a charge the Vatican denies. (Via National Geographic

To this day, relations between the two have been tense. But as with so many other church issues, the pope appears eager to change that.

He even invited a key figure in the Orthodox Church to his inauguration last year — a first since the two churches split nearly 1,000 years ago. (Via The Vatican

Now, this wasn’t Putin's first trip to the Vatican. He met twice with Pope John Paul II and once with Pope Benedict. Never before has a pope traveled to Moscow. (ViaWikimedia Commons)

And this time around, Putin didn't extend an invite in return. RT reports there was reportedly no discussion of Francis visiting Moscow.