Thaw in Moscow/Vatican relations

Diplomatic sources report that the Roman Catholic Pope, John Paul II, intends to visit Russia in 2003, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the city of Saint Petersburg.

This visit will be a continuation of the warming relationship between the Russian Federation and the West, a movement which is strongly propelled by Moscow.

Pope John Paul II has long spoken of an “immense desire” to visit Russia, where the Roman catholic community numbers only around half a million in a universe of 145 million Russian Orthodox Christians.

Following the same spirit of co-operation, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Alexis II, sent a female choir to sing at the Basilica of Saint Peter and in the Pope’s private chapel at the Vatican. Pope John Paul II, moved by the performance, referred to the “great spirituality of Russian culture”.


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