Leonid Sevastyanov, the Chairman of the World Union of Old Believers, said that he had met informally this week on a mission from Pope Francis with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, reported the Russian news website Gazeta.ru on Dec. 8, citing a report by RIA Novosti. “The Pope hopes that hostilities will end by the Catholic Christmas, December 25, that by this time there will be a ceasefire, and from that time negotiations will begin,” Sevyastanov was quoted as saying. Sevastyanov said that he also met, on the instructions of the Pope, with a representative of the Republican majority in Congress. According to Sevastyanov, the Pope believes that the United States must understand that the people of Ukraine do not want war. He said that the Pontiff’s position had been conveyed, and felt that in the United States there is a noticeable desire to move towards resolving the conflict.