Holy See–Russia relations

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Holy See–Russia relations
Map indicating locations of Holy See and Russia

Holy See


Holy See–Russia relations (Russian: Российско-Ватиканские отношения) is the bilateral relationship between the Holy See and Russia. The Holy See has an Apostolic Nunciature in Moscow. Russia has a permanent representative to the Holy See based in Rome.

As the Russian Orthodox Church is the largest organization of Eastern Orthodoxy, Holy See–Russia relations partly reflect Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church relations.

Ecumenical relations[edit]

Holy See–Russia relations are largely linked to ecumenical relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Relationship before the 1917 revolution[edit]

Pope Pius IX, who faced his own problems with revolutionary movements in his Church State, first tried to position himself in the middle, strongly opposing revolutionary and violent opposition against the Russian authorities and appealing to them for more Church freedom.

John Paul II[edit]

There were mixed reactions in Russia on the papacy of Pope John Paul II. Many Russians were happy that John Paul had reduced the influence of atheistic Communism in Eastern Europe and contributed to a rebirth of Christianity in the country. However, many others did not like the fact that the fall of the Soviet Union had also provoked a loss of Russian influence in Eastern Europe. The fact that John Paul was Polish also caused tensions, since there is a historic ethno-religious rivalry between Poland and Russia.

After 1991[edit]

After 1991, the Russian government started a dialogue with the Vatican.

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev ordered the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Russia and the Holy See following the meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in December 2009.[1] President Vladimir Putin maintains a good relationship with Pope Francis[2] and helped to arrange a meeting between the Pope and Patriarch Kirill at Havana, Cuba in 2016.[3] The meeting also resulted in the two promulgating a joint declaration.[4]

On 4 July 2019, however, it was revealed that tensions still remained between the Vatican and Russia, with the Russian Orthodox Church and Ukrainian conflict serving as the major causes of these tensions.[5] Despite holding a "cordial" meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Vatican, Pope Francis stated it is unlikely that he will visit Russia unless Putin agrees to not include the Russian Orthodox Church in the invitation, which Putin stated would be unlikely as well.[5] Pope Francis has also declared support for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which has expressed opposition to Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church and also the 2016 joint declaration.[6][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Russia and the Vatican establish full diplomatic ties". London: BBC News. 3 December 2009. Archived from the original on 21 August 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  2. ^ Culbertson, Alix (August 11, 2017). "Vladimir Putin cultivates friendship with the Pope in attempt to get one over on EU". Daily Express. London. President Vladimir Putin struck up his friendship with the Pope in 2013 when Francis wrote an open letter to the Russian leader, who was chairing the G20, telling him he opposed US military intervention in Syria.
  3. ^ Povoledo, Elisabetta; Yardley, Jim (February 5, 2016). "In Historic Move, Pope to Meet With Leader of Russian Orthodox Church". The New York Times. New York City. Archived from the original on July 26, 2018. The Russian church is closely aligned with the Russian government...and the meeting with the pope would have required permission from Mr. Putin. Signing off on the meeting allows the Russian president to show the different avenues he can use to avoid isolation.
  4. ^ https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-joint-declaration-signed-by-pope-francis-and-patriarch-kirill-61341
  5. ^ a b c https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/07/04/pope-meets-putin-two-leaders-talk-about-ukraine-syria-venezuela/
  6. ^ https://catholicherald.co.uk/magazine/what-putin-wants-from-the-pope/

External links[edit]