MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed ongoing dialogue between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Putin said at Wednesday’s meeting with the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, that “universal humanitarian values” form the basis for Russia’s ties with the Vatican, as well as relations between the two churches.

Putin thanked the Holy See for sending St. Nicholas relics on loan to Russia this summer. He also hailed a Moscow exhibition of paintings from the Vatican Museums and said that Russia will reciprocate with a Russian art exhibition in the Vatican next year.

Parolin’s meeting with Putin in Sochi follows his talks with Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill. Kirill met with Pope Francis in Cuba in February 2016, the first encounter between the leaders of the two churches.