Putin shows faith, kisses Madonna icon at Vatican - New York News

Putin shows faith, kisses Madonna icon at Vatican

Posted: Updated:
Russian President Vladimir Putin bends to kiss an icon of the Madonna as Pope Francis looks at him on the occasion of their private audience at the Vatican, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Claudio Peri, Pool) Russian President Vladimir Putin bends to kiss an icon of the Madonna as Pope Francis looks at him on the occasion of their private audience at the Vatican, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Claudio Peri, Pool)

By NICOLE WINFIELD

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin showed off his religious side during a visit Monday to the Vatican, stopping to cross himself and kiss an icon of the Madonna that he gave to Pope Francis. But Moscow's improving relations with the Vatican went only so far: Putin didn't invite Francis to visit.

The Vatican said Monday that ecumenical relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches weren't really discussed during the 35-minute discussion between Putin and Francis in the pope's private library, though Putin brought greetings from Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.

Rather, the discussions between Putin and the pope, and then Putin and the Vatican's top diplomats, focused on Syria and the role of Christianity in society.

Putin thanked Francis for his September letter to the Group of 20 meeting in St. Petersburg, in which Francis urged world leaders to abandon the "futile pursuit" of a military solution in Syria and lamented that one-sided interests had prevented a diplomatic end to the conflict.

Francis mobilized hundreds of thousands of people around the globe to participate in a daylong fast and prayer for peace, as the U.S. threatened military strikes following an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus. Moscow opposed military intervention as well.

Francis gave Putin a ceramic mosaic of the Vatican gardens, and Putin presented Francis with an image of the icon of the Madonna of Vladimir, an important religious icon for the Russian Orthodox faithful.

After they exchanged the gifts, Putin asked Francis if he liked the icon, and Francis said he did. Putin then crossed himself and kissed the image, and Francis followed suit.

The Argentine pope is particularly devoted to Marian icons.

Long-running tensions in Russia between Orthodox faithful and Catholics in Russia prevented Pope Benedict XVI and before him Pope John Paul II from achieving their long-sought dreams of a Russian pilgrimage and meeting with the Russian patriarch. Recently officials have floated the idea of a meeting in a third country, but the Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said ecumenical issues weren't discussed Monday.

He confirmed that Putin didn't invite Francis, making the Russian president one of the few world leaders who have visited the popular pope and not extended an invitation in exchange.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Superstorm Sandy

    Grimm criticizes storm recovery program

    Grimm criticizes storm recovery program

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:12 PM EDT2014-08-28 03:12:14 GMT
    When Superstorm Sandy destroyed Maureen Childs' Staten Island home, she turned to New York City's Build it Back program for help. She says what she got back was heartache. At a news conference Wednesday, Rep. Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, highlighted what he called failures in a program designed to help victims of Sandy get back on their feet.
    When Superstorm Sandy destroyed Maureen Childs' Staten Island home, she turned to New York City's Build it Back program for help. She says what she got back was heartache. At a news conference Wednesday, Rep. Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, highlighted what he called failures in a program designed to help victims of Sandy get back on their feet.
  • Pranna to end 'boozy brunch' after viral video

    Pranna to end 'boozy brunch' after viral video

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:10 PM EDT2014-08-28 03:10:44 GMT
    Video posted on YouTube showing young women and men who appear to be stumbling and drunk coming out of the restaurant Pranna in the flatiron district is why angry residents packed into a community meeting to complain Wednesday night. Neighbors say problems have been happening on Saturdays and Sundays during a so-called bottomless brunch, where patrons can drink as many drinks as they want in a two-hour period.
    Video posted on YouTube showing young women and men who appear to be stumbling and drunk coming out of the restaurant Pranna in the flatiron district is why angry residents packed into a community meeting to complain Wednesday night. Neighbors say problems have been happening on Saturdays and Sundays during a so-called bottomless brunch, where patrons can drink as many drinks as they want in a two-hour period.
  • NYC's secret access for celebrities

    NYC's secret access for celebrities

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-08-28 03:07:59 GMT
    A little bit of money, power and fame can unlock a whole world of hidden passageways and detours allowing stars to come and go discreetly. Seth Weisser has perfected private shopping inside his Soho vintage boutique What Goes Around Comes Around. Celebs slip in through the side door and descend into the vault. But the upper floor isn't too shabby either, featuring hundreds of rare Chanel and Hermes handbags.
    A little bit of money, power and fame can unlock a whole world of hidden passageways and detours allowing stars to come and go discreetly. Seth Weisser has perfected private shopping inside his Soho vintage boutique What Goes Around Comes Around. Celebs slip in through the side door and descend into the vault. But the upper floor isn't too shabby either, featuring hundreds of rare Chanel and Hermes handbags.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices