04 December 2009, 13:37
Moscow Patriarchate: Russian-Vatican diplomatic relations to work for welfare of nations and Churches
Moscow, December 4, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate hopes the decision to upgrade Russian representation to the Vatican to embassy will help develop links between the two states and Churches.
The Kremlin press service said, Dmitry Medevedev signed a decree on "Establishing diplomatic relations with the Vatican" and ordered the Foreign Ministry to hold talks with the Vatican to seek embassy status for the Russian mission to the Vatican.
"We hope this decree will contribute positively to development of interstate and interchurch relations," Secretary of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Igor Vyzhanov told an Interfax-Religion correspondent.
"This decision was not unexpected as the question has been discussed for a long time," the priest further said.
According to him, "whether a representation or an embassy, it's a detail of the diplomatic protocol, while relations between the Churches take their course."
"Therefore, upgraded level of diplomatic relations is neutral for the Church. This decision formalized relations that had de-facto existed for many years," the interviewee of the agency stated.
However, Fr. Igor pointed out to "positive role of the acting Vatican representative to Moscow Antonio Mennini in improving Orthodox-Catholic relations in Russia."
"We'd like to hope that actions of the Vatican diplomats who respect the Russian Orthodox Church and work accordingly, will make a good precedent for the future," the priest said.
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