... for the seventh time in 22 years, a fact conveniently omitted in most of the excited reports from some bloggers and vaticanisti floating hopes of a great "breakthrough" between Rome and the Patriarchate of Moscow, and extrapolating various scenarios on the flimsiest of evidence.
Pope John Paul II and Vladimir Putin, June 5, 2000. Source.
The first two meetings were between Pope John Paul II and Boris Yeltsin, and took place on December 20, 1991 and February 10, 1998. The third and fourth meetings took place on June 5, 2000 and November 5, 2003 between John Paul II and Vladimir Putin, who would go on to meet Pope Benedict XVI on March 13, 2007.
The sixth and last time that a Pope and a leader of Russia met was less than three years ago, on February 17, 2011, when then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met Pope Benedict XVI. At that time, RIA Novosti wrote:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paid his first official visit to the Vatican on Thursday and met with Pope Benedict XVI.
The sides were expected to discuss bilateral and religious ties, global affairs and cooperation within the framework of various international organizations.
After the meeting, Medvedev introduced his spouse, Svetlana, and other members of Russian delegation to the pope.
The aide to the Russian president, Sergei Prikhodko, said earlier on Thursday the president and the pope were expected to discuss a dialogue between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.
A Russian diplomatic source told RIA Novosti that a meeting between the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, and the Pope now appears "more realistic" than it did several years ago.
He did not say, however, when or where such meeting would take place.
Neither Pope Benedict nor his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, has visited post-communist Russia.
The bloggers of Rorate certainly pray for the day when there will be reconciliation and reunion between the See of Rome and the Patriarchate of Moscow. Still we think that puffing up events and artificially inflating hopes will not do anything to move that day closer, and will only worsen things in so many ways.