Russia's olive branch for Vatican

A delegation of the Russian Federation headed by its Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergei Lavrov, visited the Holy See yesterday and, for the first time, officially invited a Vatican top official to visit the country.

Catholic News Agency reports that Minister Lavrov, accompanied by Vitaly Litvin, Russian Ambassador to the Holy See, met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State and Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Secretary for Relations with States.

According to the Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls, there was "an exchange of viewpoints on bilateral relations between the Holy See and Russia and on the international situation, with particular regard to the dialogue between cultures and to collaboration within international organisations".

The meeting, according to Navarro-Valls, "underscored the existing cordial relations and the possibility of further developing them. To this end, Minister Lavrov invited Archbishop Lajolo to Moscow next autumn."

The late Pope John Paul tried to visit Moscow on several occasions but always faced the staunch opposition of the Russian Orthodox leaders, who still accuse the Catholic Church of "proselytism" within what they consider as "canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Foreign minister invites first Vatican official to visit Russia (Catholic News Agency 7/6/05)

Moscow patriarch hopes new Pope will change policy (CathNews 14/4/05)

Top Vatican official invited to Moscow (Catholic World News 7/6/05)
Russia Invites Vatican Official to Moscow (Associated Press/Las Vegas Sun 7/6/05)
Pope appeals for calm, dialogue amid Bolivia's political tension (Catholic News Service 6/6/05)
Pope Benedict says traditional family must be defended, helped (Catholic News Service 7/6/05)
Pope Benedict delivers landmark conference on life and family issues (Catholic News Agency 7/6/05)
Pope decries "pseudo-marriage" (Catholic World News 7/6/05)
Priest Denies He Was Communist Informer (The Guardian/Associated Press 6/6/05)
Pope pilgrims face test of faith (The Australian 8/6/05)
Football moves over for Pope visit (The Universe 7/6/05)
Pope dream: Healing ancient Christian rift a distant glimmer (Associated Press/Tucson Citizen 7/6/05)

8 Jun 2005