Rome and Moscow Relaunch Dialogue

GENEVA, MARCH 20, 2003 ( A high-level meeting took place here to relaunch the dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Metropolitan Kyrill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, met Wednesday.

“In an open conversation, they agreed to hold further consultations aimed at resolving the problems that exist between the two Churches,” a statement issued in Rome and Moscow explained.

Relations between the Holy See and Russia deteriorated following the rebirth of Catholic communities in Russia in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union. Relations worsened when John Paul II established four new Catholic dioceses in the Russian Federation in February 2002.