Moscow: No meeting with pope in the works

From Interfax (Oct. 7):

Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk has denied reports that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia might visit the Vatican in the near future.

“No preparations are being made for the Patriarch’s trip to the Vatican and his meeting with the Pope at any particular place or at any particular time,” Archbishop Hilarion said while taking questions from journalists in Moscow.

The possibility of the Pope’s visit to Russia in the near future is not being discussed, either, he said.

“The matter may imply a meeting on neutral ground, as they say now,” he said.

Archbishop Hilarion insisted that the main purpose of a dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church is not so much a meeting between their heads as such as “radical improvement in our relations and the overcoming of the existing problems.”

He mentioned among such problems proselytism, a too aggressive missionary policy on the part of the Roman Catholic Church in the traditional Orthodox territory in the 1990s, and the expansion of the Uniates in Ukraine.

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