Although tensions can still be felt as the result of differing opinions on various issues, Parolin said Francis and Kirill's meeting "helped us see the unity we are striving for, the unity which is required by the Gospels we profess."
"It is very important that we have this renewed mutual positive view that every servant of the God, priest and believer will share," he said, stressing that in his opinion, this is the condition "for the fulfillment of new and, I would say, unprecedented steps in the development of the ecumenical dialogue and the rapprochement of our Churches."
When asked how their Churches can work together to preserve traditional values and not impede efforts for modern democracy, Parolin noted that unfortunately "there is no shortage of challenges that the modern world produces."
It's not just about preserving values so much as "the very concept of human personality and human dignity," he said, pointing to the specific challenges presented by showing respect for humanity and his work, striving for social justice, interpersonal relations and relations among States.
"These are all challenges of a peaceful existence," the cardinal said, noting that when their Churches insist on following the Gospel and upholding the values found in scripture, "they do so not to humiliate a modern person or to put unnecessary pressure on him but to show the path to salvation and fulfillment."
"When performing this mission, which never ends, it is extremely important to establish effective cooperation between different religious denominations," he said, adding that greater mutual understanding between Churches and the exchange of experiences "may become an important contribution to understanding of these problems."
Pointing to the Catholic Church's decision to "loan" relics of the well-loved Orthodox Saint Nicholas, consisting of several bone fragments currently housed in Bari, to Russia over the summer, Parolin said the gesture served as a "spiritual uplift" of sorts for the Russian Orthodox Church.
"There is no doubt that this event and other similar initiatives, which can be called the 'ecumenism of the saints,' give an opportunity to fully feel what already unites Christians," he said.
The relics were sent from Bari to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow from May 22-July 12, and were venerated by President Putin and thousands of Orthodox faithful.
Not only was the event important for the spiritual life of believers, but it also served as an example for future initiatives and gave "a new impetus" to dialogue on "more complex" issues in Church relations, he said.
When it comes to fighting terrorism, Parolin said there are two important factors to keep in mind, the first being the decisions on the part of governments "which are often dictated by concrete situations."
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"When one faces a situation of this kind, one has to make a certain choice based on the politicians' assessments," he said. "No doubt, the need to tackle terrorism is evident for the Church, but all actions must be weighted in order to prevent a situation in which the use of force would trigger spiraling violence or lead to violations of human rights, including the freedom of religion."
On the other hand, the Church is always guided by a "long-term perspective," he said, which first of all involves fostering personal development, particularly among younger generations, as well as "solid dialogue between religions."
"During the past decades, the Holy See has been making all possible efforts to establish, strengthen or restore dialogue on the cultural and religious levels and in the social and humanitarian sphere," the cardinal said, adding that he is "absolutely convinced that life under the guidance of the Gospel would in itself make an important contribution into forming the society and culture."
Asked about some of U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial policies since taking office, including his decision to pull out of the 2016 Paris Climate agreement, and what the Vatican expects from Trump, Parolin voiced hope that the two States can move forward in mutual respect.
The meeting in May between Pope Francis and Trump "was held in the atmosphere of mutual respect and I would say, with mutual sincerity" in which both men were able to voice their thoughts and concerns.
Parolin voiced his hope that despite Trump's determination to "fulfill the electoral promises" and despite Washington's withdrawal from the Paris accord, "pragmatic approaches will prevail in continuation to the US administration's decision to keep the climate change discussion running."