Moscow, February 18, Interfax - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed an order to decorate the former Vatican ambassador to Russia Archbishop Antonio Mennini with the Order of Friendship.
This high state decoration was awarded to nuncio Mennini for his contribution to the development of Russian-Vatican relations, the official website of President reports.
Antonio Mennini was appointed nuncio to Russia in November, 2002. This started the period of notable thaw in relations between the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches.
Mennini more than once backed up the Russian Church in its socially important initiatives. Thus, the Archbishop welcomed the ideas of introducing institute of chaplains in the Russian Army and Basics of Orthodox Culture in schools. He also opposed the reproaches of the Moscow Patriarchate in "clericalization" of society.
Full-fledged diplomatic relations between Russia and the Holy See were established during Mennini's work in Moscow.
Two months ago, Pope Benedict XVI of Rome appointed Archbishop Antonio Mennini a nuncio to Britain.