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Author Topic: Pope to Meet Russian Patriarch?  (Read 924 times) Average Rating: 0
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Nigula Qian Zishi
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« on: April 15, 2003, 12:00:16 AM »

I found this thanks to Serge's http://www.OldWorldRus.com

Rumor: Pope to Meet Russian Patriarch
Vatican, Apr. 14 (CWNews.com)

Pope John Paul II might hold a long-anticipated with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II in August, according to Vatican sources.    

Sources at the Vatican have indicated that the Pope might meet with the Russian prelate on his return trip after a visit to Mongolia, which is now under active planning. According to reports circulated in the Italian press on April 14, the Pope might also return the famous icon of the Mother of God of Kazan to Patriarch Alexei during such a meeting.    

Vatican sources have indicated that the Pope might stop in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, on his return trip from Mongolia. Although the papal trip to Mongolia has not yet been officially announced, preparations are underway for a voyage late in August.    

The icon of the Mother of God of Kazan, which is cherished within the Russian Orthodox Church, gained a reputation for miraculous powers in 1612, when it was brought to Moscow just before that city's liberation from Polish occupation. Early in the 20th century, however, take from its place in St. Petersburg and sold, passing from one owner to another until it was discovered in a small church in Fatima, Portugal. In 1991, when Pope John Paul visited Fatima, he took the famous icon back to the Vatican. Orthodox officials have demanded the return of the icon, and the Pope has indicated that he is willing to make that gesture.    

Responding to the reports of the proposed summit meeting that appeared in the Italian media on Monday, Vatican officials would say only that "all possibilities are being considered" for the return of the icon. "The necessary contacts have been made," one official added.    

The return of the icon of Kazan could provide the Vatican with a strong  inducement for Patriarch Alexei to participate in a meeting with Pope John Paul. Twice in recent years the Vatican has made preparations for such a meeting, but on both occasions the Russian prelate has backed away from the plans, saying that he is not prepared to meet with the Pontiff until the Holy See provides assurances that the Catholic Church will not engage in "proselytism" in traditionally Orthodox countries.    

The latest rumors of a possible summit meeting between the leaders of the world's largest Christian churches come at a time when relations between Rome and Moscow have begun to thaw, after months of icy relations-- and a minimum of formal contacts-- that followed the Vatican decision to create four new Catholic dioceses in Russia in February 2001. That Vatican decision has been followed by the expulsion of six Catholic priests from Russia, in a development that Vatican officials believe was taken at the instigation of the Orthodox Church.      On March 28, when he met with the president of the Russian senate, Sergey Mironov, Pope John Paul stated his intention to return the beloved icon of Kazan. He might address the issue again soon, when the president of the Russian Federation, Mikhail Kasyanov, visits the Vatican later this week.  

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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2003, 12:15:55 AM »

This should be very interesting. I think the return of the icon will help to thaw relations a bit.
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