20 June 2007, 11:53
Archbishop of Cyprus visit awaited in Russia, not linked with Vatican
Moscow, June 20, Interfax - Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus' visit to Russia is in no way linked with Russian Patriarch Alexy II's possible meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, the Moscow Patriarchate said.
"A discussion on the Russian patriarch's meeting with the Pope is not on the agenda of the visit and was not considered when the visit was being prepared," an official with the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations told Interfax on Wednesday.
Moscow and the Vatican "have no problems that would require mediation," he said.
Father Nikolai Balashov, the Department's secretary for inter-Orthodox relations, told Interfax meanwhile, that Archbishop Chrysostomos' arrival in Moscow "will be the first official visit, traditionally paid by each newly-elected head of a local Orthodox Church."
The agenda is extensive. "Relations with the Catholic Church could also be addressed," he said.
Father Nikolai also said no information is available to him suggesting that the Russian patriarch is seeking a meeting with the Pope. "It is an issue of bilateral relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Roman Catholic Church," he said.
Archbishop Chrysostomos is to begin an official visit to Russia on July 13.