Russian Orthodox Official Not Expecting Pope Visit

NEW YORK, NOV. 13, 2003 ( The Russian Orthodox Church’s chief official for relations with other Christians indicated that chances are slim for John Paul II’s long-desired visit to Moscow.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has favored a papal visit. But John Paul does not want to visit unless the Orthodox welcome him.

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad told a news conference Wednesday that such a visit “cannot just be a show” and an accord with the Vatican must be reached first, at least on two major disagreements: the presence in traditionally Orthodox nations of Eastern-rite Catholic Churches which are loyal to the Pope, and Catholic missionary activity in Orthodox countries, the Associated Press said.

Metropolitan Kirill, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, is in the United States to take part in the celebration of the centenary of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York.

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