Vatican official says full diplomatic relations with Russia not yet possible
- 2005.11.08 AP:
Vatican official says full diplomatic relations with Russia not yet
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican's foreign minister, who has expressed hope
of establishing full diplomatic ties with Russia, said Tuesday after
returning from Moscow that an upgrade in relations is not yet possible.
Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo had said at the start of his Oct. 26-30
Russian visit that the Vatican was hoping to establish full-scale
diplomatic relations with Moscow, telling Russian media that the
current ties don't correspond to the weight each wields in the world.
Lajolo repeated that Tuesday in an interview with Vatican Radio,
saying the state of the current relations implied there were
"reservations in our reciprocal dealings, reservations that aren't
"I believe that it's logical to progress to a solution of full
normality, but for various reasons, it's still not possible to fix a
date," he said. He didn't elaborate.
The head of the Russian church, Patriarch Alexy II, maintains that a
papal visit to Russia would be possible only after the Catholic
Church stops its alleged poaching for converts in Russia and other ex-
Soviet lands and ends alleged discrimination against the Orthodox in
western Ukraine. The Vatican has denied the allegations.
The Holy See and Russia have "relations of a special nature" in which
Russia maintains a mission with an ambassador in Rome and the Vatican
a papal nuncio in Russia.
Lajolo said his meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
had been "friendly" and that his meetings with other Russian
officials had been cordial and useful.
Lajolo also met with Russian Orthodox Church officials, including
Metropolitan Kyrill, who heads the Russian church's foreign relations
"I am convinced that like the Holy See, the Patriarchate wants our
reciprocal relations to be more fraternal, open and trusting," he
said. "There are objective reciprocal differences that require a more
The late Pope John Paul II had long sought to visit Russia, and Pope
Benedict XVI has continued his outreach to the Orthodox, saying that
unifying all Christians was a top priority of his pontificate.
Lajolo had said during his trip that a possible papal visit was not
specifically discussed with Orthodox church representatives, but he
said Tuesday he was still praying for it.
"A meeting between the Holy Father and the Patriarch must be
testimony to Christian fraternity before all the world, and should be
full of joy and open the doors to a full collaboration," he said.
"Could it happen? Let us pray."
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