Putin Congratulates Pope on His 85th Birthday
10:01 GMT 17.12.2021 (Updated: 19:49 GMT 17.10.2022)
© Sputnik / Alexei DruzhininRussian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Pope Francis during their meeting at the Vatican. Archbishop Georg Ganswein is second left. Putin is on one-day official visit to Italy
© Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin/
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Pope Francis on his 85th birthday and noted that much can be done to protect the rights of Christians through joint efforts, according to a telegram released by the Kremlin on Friday.
"I warmly recall our meetings, constructive and meaningful negotiations, which confirmed the closeness of the approaches of Russia and the Holy See to the most important international problems. I am sure that through joint efforts we can do a lot to protect the rights and interests of Christians, as well as to ensure interfaith dialogue," Putin was quoted as saying.
The president noted that the pontiff's entire life is devoted to the promotion of high spiritual and moral values, adding that it is difficult to overestimate his personal contribution to the development of relations between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, to the strengthening of Russian-Vatican ties.
"I sincerely wish you good health, prosperity and continued success in your noble and responsible mission," he added.
Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires on 17 December 1936, has been the head of the Catholic Church since March 2013. He is the first pope from the Americas, and the first one from outside Europe since the 8th century when the Catholic Church was led by Gregory III, a Syrian.