Putin Sees Hope for Vatican-Orthodox Rapprochement

MOSCOW, JUNE 26, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the authorities in his country will make “all kinds of efforts” to favor a rapprochement between the Orthodox Church and the Holy See.

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Putin made the statement in Edinburgh before representatives of the Scottish scientific sector and Russian journalists, in the context of his state visit to Great Britain, the ANSA agency reported.

“I know that the attitude of the Patriarch of All Russia, Alexy II, in regard to relations with the Vatican and with the Catholic Church, is inspired by benevolence,” Putin said Wednesday. He expressed confidence in a possible “positive development” of the situation.

Recently, relations between the Holy See and the Russian Orthodox Church have been especially hampered by the Patriarchate of Moscow’s accusations of proselytism against the Catholic Church.

The Holy See has explained that its decision last year to establish dioceses in Russia and in former Soviet republics was to respond to the spiritual needs of communities that are being reborn in the wake of the Communist persecution.

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