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Cardinal Kasper reports on meeting with Russian Patriarch

Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, reports that he told Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei that the Vatican is intent upon maintaining relations with the Orthodox churches.

Relations are currently in the balance because of the Vatican's pending decision on whether to create a patriarchate for the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Patriarch Alexei told the cardinal during last week's one and a half hour meeting in the patriarch's downtown Moscow office that he was "gratified" to hear that "no decision has been made" on creating a patriarchate for the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Cardinal Kasper said he told Patriarch Alexei: "We don't want to break relations with the Orthodox churches. To the contrary, we want to strengthen those relations."

Patriarch Alexei, head of Russia's largest church, relayed to Cardinal Kasper a large number of complaints, accusing Roman Catholics of evangelising baptised Orthodox, converting Russian orphans to Catholicism, and ignoring the Second Vatican Council's commitment to better Orthodox-Catholic relations.

Russian Orthodox patriarch discusses issues with Vatican ecumenist (Catholic News Service 23/2/04)

Catholic and Orthodox churches to set up working group (Vatican Information Service/Independent Catholic News 24/2/04)
Tensions surround cardinal's trip to Moscow (CathNews 18/2/04)
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Moscow Patriarchate

25 Feb 2004