Rallies in Russian cities protest spread of Catholicism
Demonstrators in 25 Russian cities have protested against the rising profile of Catholicism in the country.
About 1500 demonstrators gathered in a square in central Moscow.
The Russian Orthodox Church claims the Vatican is poaching on its traditional territory.
The Church was especially angered by the Vatican's decision this year to upgrade four apostolic administrations in Russia to full dioceses.
Earlier this month, the bishop of one of the dioceses, Polish citizen Jerzy Mazur, was denied entry into Russia. An Italian priest, Fr Stefano Caprio, who has parishes in western Russia, had his visa removed while leaving Russia and has been refused a new one to re-enter the country.
The Russian Orthodox Church says it was not connected to either incident.
At the Moscow rally, in Slavyanskaya Square, protesters held posters reading "Vatican Out" and "Arise For Faith, Russian Land."
The rally was organised by the Union of Orthodox Citizens and the People's Party of Russia.
29 Apr 2002