Russian President Vladimir Putin showed off his religious side during a visit Monday to the Vatican, stopping to cross himself and kiss an icon of the Madonna that he gave to Pope Francis.
Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin met Monday amid high expectations that their visit could mark the beginning of the end of the centuries-old rift between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Since becoming pontiff in March, Francis has met with more than a dozen heads of state, and Putin met with both of his predecessors Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II.But this meeting comes at a unique time.
“What's making (this visit) different this time is who he will meet: a pope, Francis, who for the first time is not from Europe,” said Andrea Tornielli, a Vatican expert who writes for the Italian daily “La Stampa.”PUTIN IS THE MOST POWERFUL CHRISTIAN IN THE WORLD - HE HAS MORE DIVISIONS THAN #2 POPE FRANCIS.
"And [Francis] therefore has a more independent approach on international issues such as the relations between Orthodox and Catholics. Being from Argentina, (Francis) is not tied to the old idea of Western Christianity, so this could play in [Putin’s] favor,” Tornielli added.
(MEMBERSHIP IN REV WRIGHT'S "CHURCH DOESN'T MAKE OBAMA A CHRISTIAN IN MY VIEW, AS WRIGHT - LIKE OBAMA A FORMER MUSLIM - PREACHES BLACK LIBERATION THEOLOGY WHICH OWES MORE TO COMMUNISM AND POSTMODERNISM AND ISLAM THAN IT DOES TO CHRISTIANITY.)
UPDATE: OBAMA IS CLOSING AMERICA'S EMBASSY IN THE VATICAN.