Pope Francis had a private meeting in the Vatican on Monday afternoon with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
It’s the fourth time the Russian leader has been here to the Vatican – he met twice with Pope John Paul II in 2000 and 2003 and had an audience with Pope Benedict in 2007.
In September this year, Pope Francis also wrote directly to President Putin, as the city of St Petersburg prepared to host the G20 summit of world economic leaders.
In that letter, the Pope spoke of the need for a more just global financial framework, stressing that “the world economy will only develop if it allows a dignified way of life for all human beings, from the eldest to the unborn child, not just for citizens of the G20 member states but for every inhabitant of the earth, even those in extreme social situations or in the remotest places... “
Pope Francis also focused in that letter on the need for an urgent solution to the Syrian conflict, saying: “It is regrettable that, from the very beginning of the conflict in Syria, one-sided interests have prevailed and in fact hindered the search for a solution that would have avoided the senseless massacre now unfolding..”