2018-02-15 18:32:00

Patriarch tells Jordanian king about reason for meeting with pope

Moscow, February 15, Interfax - The threat of a direct clash between representatives of nuclear powers in Syria was the reason for the arrangement of a meeting between the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Pope Francis, the patriarch said at a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Moscow on Thursday.

"Russian military-space forces together with [Syrian] government troops were doing their job and doing it very successfully, but other countries formed a coalition and seemed to be doing their own job. And the very fact of the presence of two powerful armed groupings that did not have common coordination was an enormous challenge and an enormous risk of large-scale hostilities," the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said.

"Any mistake could have led to a direct clash of representatives of nuclear powers. And when I felt this danger, I invited Pope Francis to meet immediately even though never in history had the Patriarch of Moscow met the Pope. And we succeeded in coordinating very important positions and drew attention above all to the dangerous situation that had arisen in Syria," the patriarch said.

He said the Pope and he proved to have a common understanding that "terrorism should be fought jointly and in concert by everyone opposed to terrorism [...] One should not be picking brands from the fire to one's own benefit. This is an erroneous and very dangerous approach," he said.

The patriarch regretted that the main countries that could deliver a crushing blow to terrorism cannot organize joint actions, and this arouses suspicion that someone is trying to use terrorism for political purposes.

"But this is not simply a mistaken policy, it is a dangerous policy. One has to pay for the services of terrorists, and we already know what has happened in this connection in a number of countries," the patriarch said.

The historic meeting of the heads of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church took place on February 12, 2016 in Havana.