Pope-Russian Orthodox Talks Precede Putin Visit

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Tuesday met with the foreign minister of the Russian Orthodox Church ahead of a Nov. 25 visit to the Vatican by President Vladimir Putin.

The Vatican released no details of the meeting with Metropolitan Hilarion, in Rome for a Catholic-Orthodox conference on family values.

Simultaneously in Moscow, a top Italian cardinal involved in Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, Cardinal Angelo Scola, met with Russian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill.

While there was no word about any possible meeting between Kirill and Francis — long-sought by the Vatican — officials say it is likely that Francis will meet the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, in Jerusalem in the first half of 2014.