The Vatican secretary of state is visiting Russia for talks spanning inter-church relations to global crises.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin held talks Tuesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and also met with Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill.

Lavrov says he and Parolin discussed conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, as well as the Ukrainian crisis. Parolin urged Russia to help ease tensions in Venezuela.

Kirill praised Russian Orthodox relations with the Vatican, noting that the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches have similar positions on a variety of international issues. Parolin says he hopes his visit will help strengthen their ties.

Kirill met with Pope Francis in Havana, Cuba in February 2016, the first encounter between the leaders of the two churches since they split about a millennium ago.