The legal status of religious communities, the role of religion in society, and ecumenical collaboration were at the focus of talks between Greek President Karolos Papoulias and Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday.
During the 45-minute meeting, described as “cordial” by Vatican Radio, the two men also discussed the future presence of Christians in the Middle East in light of political instability in the region.
Papoulias offered the pope a book on Orthodox faith while Francis gave the Greek president a small bronze relief and a book containing his apostolic speeches.
“Congratulations on your president. He is a wise man and a man of peace,” the pope was quoted as telling Greek journalists after the meeting.
Papoulias described the talks as “interesting” and “warm.”
Later on Friday, the Greek president, who arrived in the Italian capital on Thursday, met with his Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano. The two men inaugurated an exhibition of Greek and Italian antiquities at the Quirinal Palace in Rome, which is taking place on the occasion of Greece’s six-month presidency of the European Union.