Russian public wants visit by Pope Francis, poll finds
April 15, 2013
A striking 71% of Russia's people hope for a visit by Pope Francis to
their country, according to a new poll by the Lavada Center in Moscow.
Only 9% of those surveyed voiced opposition to a papal visit.
Pope John Paul II had long hoped to make a visit to Moscow, but faced
steady resistance from the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.
While tensions between Rome and Moscow eased during the pontificate of
Benedict XVI, the Moscow Patriarchate continued to insist that further
ecumenical progress was needed before a papal visit could take place.
The surprising popularity of Pope Francis could prompt Orthodox leaders
to ease their opposition.