Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet with Pope Benedict XVI for the first time on Thursday to discuss bilateral and religious ties, his aide Sergei Prikholdko said.
The sides will discuss global affairs and cooperation within the framework of various international organizations.
The aide to the Russian president also said the president and the Pontiff will discuss dialog between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.
A Russian diplomatic source told RIA Novosti that a meeting between the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, and the Pope now appears "more realistic" than it did several years ago.
He did not say, however, when or where such meeting would take place.
Neither Pope Benedict nor his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, visited post-communist Russia.
MOSCOW, February 17 (RIA Novosti)