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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 17, 2004, /RIA-NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT/ -- All of the world's 15 local Orthodox churches negatively assess specific prospects for establishing a Greek-Catholic patriarchate in Ukraine.

    Various proposals on establishing this patriarchate were set forth in a memorandum by cardinal Walter Kasper, chairman of the papal Christian-unity council.

    The heads of all local Orthodox churches have already reacted to cardinal Kasper's memorandum, sending messages to Patriarch Alexius II of Moscow and All Russia; their messages were published here today by the Moscow patriarchate's department of foreign church affairs.

    Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople believes that cardinal Kasper's proposals run counter to the resolution of the second Vatican council; according to that document, the Uniate movement is no longer perceived as a method for attaining church unity. Consequently, this method, which is viewed as unacceptable by Christians, boils down to proselytizing on Orthodox Christian territories, the conversion of believers and their subordination to the Roman-Catholic Church.

    The head of the Polish Orthodox Church referred to the Vatican's intention as the continuation of establishing Latin patriarchates in the Middle East during the Crusades.

    The head of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church is sure that the preservation and imposing of Uniate churches in traditionally Orthodox regions (that were defined by ecumenical and local councils) undermined ecumenical dialogue, also hampering the aspiration for Christian unity.

    Patriarch Pavel of Serbia said that the memorandum, doubtless, served to reject dialogue between Orthodox Christian Churches and the Roman-Catholic Church.

    Patriarch Peter VII of Alexandria, as well as Catholicos and Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia, voiced hope to the effect that the Roman-Catholic Church will turn down its plans for establishing a Uniate patriarchate in Ukraine, and that the Vatican won't permit any actions, which would aggravate its relations with Orthodox Churches.

    The Cypriot Orthodox Church intends to demand that the Roman-Catholic Church rescind the afore-said decision. The Hellenic Orthodox Church emphatically rejects this non-fraternal, unlawful and provocative decision on the part of the Vatican.

    The Albanian orthodox Church is requesting that this step, which is an insult to the Orthodox Christian world, be corrected.

    The head of the North American Orthodox Church noted that the establishment of a Greek-Catholic patriarchate in Ukraine would harm Orthodox-Catholic relations, also causing distrust and suspicions in North America.

    Talking to RIA-NOVOSTI, well-informed sources in Rome noted that cardinal Walter Kasper intended to downplay this issue, i.e. the possible establishment of a Greek-Catholic patriarchate in Kiev, during his Moscow visit.

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