Saturday, June 03, 2000
No Visit for Pope
Relations between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church are too strained to justify inviting the pope to visit, Orthodox officials said Friday.
President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet with Pope John Paul II next week during his two-day visit to Italy.
There has been speculation in Italy that Putin might invite the pope to visit.
But the Orthodox patriarch, Alexy II, has long said that disputes between the two churches must be resolved before any meeting with John Paul.
Igor Vyzhanov, an Orthodox church official responsible for relations with the Roman Catholic Church, said, "There is uncontrolled missionary activity on Russian territory, and they're turning to traditionally Orthodox believers."
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