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Pope, Ukrainian president to meet May 7 - Holy See - 2

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Pope Benedict XVI and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko will meet May 7 in the Vatican, the Holy See press service said Monday.
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VATICAN, April 30 (RIA Novosti) - Pope Benedict XVI and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko will meet May 7 in the Vatican, the Holy See press service said Monday.

In late March, Tatyana Izhevskaya, new Ukrainian ambassador to the Holy See, said the Ukrainian leader officially invited the pope to the country, but the pontiff has not given an official reply to the invitation yet.

In 2001, the visit by previous Pope John Paul II to Ukraine aggravated relations between Orthodox and Catholic Christians in Ukraine.

Bishop Ilarion, a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, to which belong many of Ukraine's Christian believers, at European international organizations, said in March that the Orthodox and Catholic churches have intensified cultural links, but have still not worked out a common position on the problems of Uniatism and Proselytism.

"We need to reach some progress in the discussion of these issues before speaking about any real improvement in relations," he said.

Uniatism is the union of Orthodox Christian communities with Rome through their acknowledgement of the Pope's universal primacy. These Orthodox communities are subject to papal authority, but follow their own Orthodox rites in worship.

The Russian Orthodox Church also accuses the Vatican of Proselytism, mainly in Western Ukraine, and attempts to convert Orthodox believers into the Catholic religion.

The Catholic Church claims that it is supporting the existing Catholic community and is not proselytizing.

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