- Pope Francis recently held a Zoom call with Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill.
- Francis said he told the pro-war church leader to avoid becoming "Putin's altar boy."
- Kirill's outspoken support of Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine has angered other church leaders.
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Pope Francis said he recently warned Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill that he should avoid becoming "[President Vladimir] Putin's altar boy" during a Zoom call.
"I listened and told him: I don't understand anything about this," Francis said of his 40-minute call with Kirill, according to the report. "Brother, we are not clerics of state, we cannot use the language of politics but that of Jesus."
He told the Russian church leader: "The Patriarch cannot transform himself into Putin's altar boy."
Francis has repeatedly called for a ceasefire amid the conflict and condemned its brutality.
Kirill's outspoken support of Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine has angered other church leaders, according to the Washington Post.
The European Union is also targeting Kirill in a new round of sanctions against Russia as punishment for his pro-war stance, Politico reported on Wednesday.