Cardinal in Moscow to Promote Dialogue With Orthodox

Called for an East-West Synod Recently

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2005 ( The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is visiting Moscow to promote dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church.

This is yet another visit of Cardinal Walter Kasper to the Russian capital. He traveled there last August to return to Patriarch Alexy II, on behalf of Pope John Paul II, the icon of the Mother of God of Kazan, an image venerated by the Russian Orthodox.

Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls published a note today explaining that Cardinal Kasper’s visit to Moscow seeks «to continue the dialogue with the Orthodox Patriarchate initiated on the occasion of the solemn inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate.» The visit ends Thursday.

On May 25, during the Italian National Eucharistic Congress held in Bari, Cardinal Kasper proposed to Eastern Christians, the majority of whom are Orthodox, a synod of «reconciliation» with Western Christians, in that same southern Italian city.

A historic synod of Eastern and Western bishops was held in Bari in 1098.

«Why not hope that here, in Bari, 1,000 years after the synod of 1098, in 2098 — and why not before — we might again hold a synod of Greek and Latin Bishops, a synod of reconciliation?» asked the cardinal.

The proposal was heard by Archbishop Kirill of Jaroslavl and Rostov, the delegate of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate to the Eucharistic congress.

A visit to Moscow was one of John Paul II’s unrealized hopes.

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