“In the recent years there were a lot more common grounds than dividing points between us and our brothers Catholics, if we are talking about attitudes towards the public life and Christian approach towards the realities of our world. Here our positions coincide and that allows to say that our churches are becoming closer [to each other] regarding the issue of protecting the unshakable Christian values,” Volkov said.
However, according to the Deacon, it is still too early to talk about a meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill mostly because of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church actions, which are the main obstacle.
Volkov added that due to its importance, the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill should be more than a mere formality.
“It [the meeting] should not be turned into some kind of a formality, when in public Patriarch and Pope will be smiling and saying common phrases and behind the closed doors they will discuss the existing problems in strong terms,” Volkov said.
In March 2014 the head of the Russian Orthodox Church congratulated Pope Francis on his first anniversary as pontiff and said in a letter that bilateral ties between the Russian Orthodox and the Catholic churches have improved in the past year. During his November visit to Istanbul, Pope Francis stated that he is ready to meet with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church at “any time.”