Bishop Comments on President Putin's Visit to John Paul II

MOSCOW, JUNE 5 ( Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting John Paul II in the Vatican. Bishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, Apostolic Administrator of Moscow and European Russia, said it is an absolutely positive event: "It means that the Pope is considered an important figure here as well."

"It is difficult to make predictions," explained the "Catholic Bishop" of Moscow, who took advantage of the occasion of his public statements to manifest openness toward the Orthodox Church. "I am convinced that with good will the existing problems between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches can be overcome. I believe that Christian Churches should be united in collaboration for the good of the Russian people, for their re-evangelization," he explained.

The last time Bishop Kondrusiewicz met with Alexy II, the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow, was May 7, at Putin's presidential inauguration in the Kremlin. The meeting was the latest stage in the "process of relaxation" in relations between Catholics and Orthodox, which began after the fall of communism. Among the signs of dialogue is the visit of a delegation from the Moscow Patriarchate to the exposition of the Holy Shroud in Turin.