Pope Francis said in an interview published Thursday that a scheduled meeting in Jerusalem with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has been “suspended.”
Speaking with Argentine daily La Nacion, the pope said Vatican diplomats warned that holding the meeting in June “could lead to much confusion.”
The pope gave no indication when the meeting would now be held and did not offer any specifics on why it was called off.
The Russian patriarch is a vocal supporter of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while the pontiff has called for an end to the war and decried the killing of children and other defenseless civilians in Ukraine.
“May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, so sorely tried by the violence and destruction of this cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged,” Francis said on Easter while addressing a crowd at St. Peter’s Square.
His planned meeting in Jerusalem would have followed his upcoming trip to neighboring Lebanon.
Pope Francis last visited Israel in May 2014. His trip included visits to religious sites in both Jerusalem and Bethlehem and a short stop at the West Bank security barrier, as well as visits to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Theodor Herzl’s grave and an Israeli memorial to victims of terrorism.
Agencies contributed to this report.