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Russia's Patriarch sends get-well wishes to Pope

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    2005.02.05 Reuters: Russia s Patriarch sends get-well wishes to Pope 05 Feb 2005 13:06:04 GMT Source: Reuters MOSCOW, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Russian Orthodox
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2005
      2005.02.05 Reuters:
      Russia's Patriarch sends get-well wishes to Pope

      05 Feb 2005 13:06:04 GMT
      Source: Reuters

      MOSCOW, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexiy II sent a
      get-well-soon message to Pope John Paul on Saturday, putting aside strained
      ties with the Catholic church.

      The Patriarch has repeatedly refused to meet the Pope, who has said he
      dreams of visiting Russia. A meeting between the two would be a landmark in
      reconciliation between the churches which split in the Great Schism of 1054.

      The 84-year-old Pope is in Rome's Gemelli hospital where he was taken
      after he had breathing problems on Tuesday night.

      "Accept our support expressed in brotherly prayer in connection with your
      illness," the Patriarch's message, quoted by Itar-Tass news agency, said.

      He also told the Pope to "recover and regain your strength ... in
      fulfilling the holy service as head of the Roman Catholic church for the
      good of the flock and for the benefit of the general Christian values of
      peace and justice".

      The Polish-born Pontiff played a role in the collapse of communism and
      relations between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches soured further
      since the end of the Soviet Union.

      The Orthodox Church has accused Catholics of stealing its faithful in
      Russia and in ex-Soviet countries, especially Ukraine, which has 5 million
      eastern-rite Catholics.
      The Vatican has rejected the charge and in turn accused the Orthodox
      Church of using close links with the state to restrict the activities of
      its priests in Russia. Several Catholic priests have been denied entry
      visas in the past two years.
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