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    MOSCOW, February 19, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - His Beatitude Alexis II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church is expected to receive, Monday next, Cardinal Walter Casper, head of the papal council for Christian unity, says Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, second in charge of the Moscow Patriarchate Department of External Church Relations.

    His Eminence met at the negotiation table today with Metropolitan Cyril of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, department head, Father Vsevolod said to Novosti. No comments on the talks came from the top of the Russian Orthodox Church.

    Metropolitan Cyril and Cardinal Casper are official negotiators of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Holy See, respectively.

    Two issues dominate their agenda. First, the Russian Orthodox Church objects to Roman Catholic missionary activities in Russia and other CIS countries, a majority of whose population belongs to Eastern Christendom or has Orthodoxy for ancestral confession. Second is Greek Catholic expansion in Ukraine, which badly harasses its Orthodox Church. Alarm has grown worse after Cardinal Casper's recent memorandum on prospects to establish the Kiev Patriarchate of the Greek Catholic Church.

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