Russia Honors Former Nuncio

Patriarchate Lauds His Work at Strengthening Orthodox-Catholic Relations

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LONDON, JUNE 16, 2011 ( Russia is honoring the papal nuncio who served eight years in Moscow (2002-2010), during a time a Russian Orthodox official has called a «very difficult moment» for the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.

Archbishop Antonio Mennini, now the nuncio in Great Britain, was awarded the honor June 10 by the Russian ambassador in Britain, A. Jakovenko.

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, chairman for the Russian Orthodox patriarchate’s Department of External Church Relations, sent a congratulatory message to Archbishop Mennini.

The metropolitan recognized the archbishop’s efforts «in the development of friendly relations between the Holy See and the Russian Federation» as well as his contribution toward «a mutual understanding between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church.»

Metropolitan Alfeyev noted that Archbishop Mennini began his service in Russia «at a very difficult moment for relations among the Orthodox and Catholics.»

He lauded the 63-year-old prelate for his esteem for «the traditions of the Christian East and his lively interest in the history, customs and modern life of the Russian Church.» Metropolitan Alfeyev said this had gained him the esteem of Russian churchmen and laypeople alike.

«I am very glad,» the Orthodox official concluded, «that now carrying out your distinguished ministry as apostolic nuncio in Great Britain, you have not lost your link with Russia and the Russian Church, where you are remembered by everyone as a true friend and a brother in Christ.»

Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič succeeded Archbishop Mennini as nuncio to Russia in February.

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