Putin Showed Wisdom by Not Inviting Pope of Rome to Russia

MOSCOW, June 6 (Itar-Tass) - "Vladimir Putin displayed wisdom and caution by not inviting the Pope of Rome to visit Russia. This step deserves full respect," Spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchy Clergyman Vsevolod Chaplin told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

In the opinion of the Russian Orthodox Church, the president, who has every right to invite the Head of the Vatican State to Moscow, has displayed "understanding of the fact that this problem cannot be considered separately from state-ecclesiastic, and also inter-church relations between Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church".

Putin Glad with Intestate Russia-Vatican Relations

ROME, June 6 (Itar-Tass) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that interstate relations between Moscow and the Vatican were developing successfully.

"As soon as the churches come to agreement, we will do all that needs to be done from our side. We will provide all kinds of assistance for dialogue," Putin told reporters.

The Russian president said he was satisfied with his meeting with Pope John Paul II, which had been held in an open manner.

Putin Visits Famous Gothic Cathedrals in Milan

MILAN, June 6 (Itar-Tass) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Italy on Tuesday ended with a visit to an elaborate Gothic cathedral in the splendid Piazza del Duomo in Milan. The cathedral was begun in 1386 and the work was continued through several centuries.

When Putin came out of the Duomo cathedral, a young man approached him to shake hands. "Struggle for Peace, Mr. President," the man said in Italian and hugged the Russian leader.

The Russian Head of State also visited the Gothic Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie built by the Dominicans about 1460. Adjoining the church is the convent, with fine cloisters by Bramante. In the former refectory Leonardo da Vinci painted his celebrated "Last Supper" in 1495-1497. Putin proved to be the first foreign leader to see the painting after it had been restored.