The pope's three-day trip to Romania is being seen as a launching pad for John Paul's ambitious plans: a meeting with the patriarch of Russia, leader of the largest Orthodox church, and a trip to Moscow.
    ``The first time is always the hardest,'' papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Sunday. The Romania trip ``had more than opened the door'' for better relations with Moscow, he said. ``It's a breakthrough.''
    But he said there were still no concrete plans for a meeting with Moscow Patriarch Alexy II, who torpedoed a planned meeting with the pope at the last minute two years ago.

11:18am 11/5/99 / AP


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