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Pope meets Russian envoy. Proclamation of Ukraine-based Priest Martyrs

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Nicole Winfield

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis announced on Friday that the Russian Orthodox I had a meeting with a church official. Patriarch Kirill, the Orthodox leader who justified the war in Ukraine.

The audience was the first between Francis and the new Director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan He Anthony. He replaced the Vatican's longtime liaison with Metropolitan Hilarion, a Russian Orthodox Church deported to Hungary after Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

To attend the government-sponsored Interfaith Conference of World and Traditional Religious Leaders in Kazakhstan on September 14-15, when both Pope and Kirill confirmed their presence. If they meet on the sidelines of parliament after June's talks were canceled due to the diplomatic fallout over the Russian invasion, it would be the second meeting in history between a pope and a Russian patriarch.

Cyril justifies the invasion of Ukraine on spiritual and ideological grounds, calling it a "metaphysical" war with the West. He congratulated the Russian soldiers who took part in the battle and evoked the idea that Russians and Ukrainians are one.

Francis' audience with Cyril's envoys came on the same day the Pope made a decision of symbolic significance to some Ukrainian Catholics. The Pope proclaimed his Catholic underground priest, Petros he Reverend Oros, a Russian Greek who served in Ukraine during the Soviet era. , a martyr, hastily pursues him on the road to a possible saint. The Vatican said in a statement that Oros, who lived from 1917 to 1953, was killed by Soviet troops out of hatred of his faith. , Oros was shot in the jaw hours after celebrating a secret Divine Liturgy in Sirce. At that time, Catholics were persecuted and the clergy of Oros were oppressed. The Vatican said Oros was pressured to move to the Russian Orthodox Church, but he "resisted and remained loyal to the Pope."

Under the Vatican's rules on martyrs, Oros could now be beatified without performing any miracles resulting from his intercession. Canonization requires a miracle.