Vatican Official Visiting Moscow

MOSCOW, OCT. 26, 2005 ( The Vatican secretary for relations with states arrived in Moscow to hold meetings with representatives of the Russian government, the Orthodox Church and the local Catholic community.

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Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo arrived today. On Thursday morning he will meet with Catholic bishops in the apostolic nunciature. In the afternoon he will meet with the president of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Duma, the Russian Parliament’s lower chamber.

On Friday, the prelate is scheduled to meet his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov. The two met June 7 at the Vatican. Friday’s visit is a response to an invitation made by Lavrov.

Among other things, the visit is expected to stimulate a greater cultural relationship between the Holy See and Russia, through the collaboration, for example, of museums.

Later, Archbishop Lajolo will visit Metropolitan Kirill, president of the Department of External Relations of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow.

The prelate will transmit Benedict XVI’s desire to improve relations with the patriarchate to give common witness to the Gospel.

After a visit to the Kremlin on Saturday, Archbishop Lajolo will preside at a Mass in Moscow’s Catholic cathedral, with the participation of Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of the Mother of God Archdiocese.

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