Holy See And Serbian Orthodox Church Seek "Rapprochement"

Visit of Cardinal Walter Kasper to Yugoslavia

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BELGRADE, MAY 16, 2002 (Zenit.org).-The Holy See and the Serbian Orthodox Church hope to foster a «rapprochement» between themselves, said Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The cardinal thanked the Serbian Orthodox Church for the welcome he received during his 5-day visit to Yugoslavia, and invited its Sacred Synod to visit the Vatican.

Both Churches desire «a greater rapprochement,» the German Cardinal said on Wednesday, according to Beta news agency, reporting on his visit with Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The Vatican wishes to «take steps forward,» he added, «the first is the invitation to a delegation of the Sacred Synod to visit Rome to hold meetings on difficulties and work in common.»

The Cardinal added that he «had the impression that this initiative has caused positive reactions.»

Another project is to offer scholarships for students to study Theology in Rome.

Discussing a possible visit by John Paul II to the new Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Cardinal Kasper remained cautious.

«The Holy Father would be very pleased to be able to come to hear Patriarch Pavle. However, has the moment arrived? Have all the conditions been met? I don´t know. We must place ourselves in the hands of Providence,» said the Cardinal, Beta news records.

The papal representative also met with Yugoslavian President Vojislav Kostunica, and with Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

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